UK & World News
Explained: Why World's Fastest Plane Crashed
Scientists behind the "world's fastest plane" have revealed it was ripped apart by speeds of around 13,000mph before it plunged into the Pacific Ocean.
Extensive analysis has been carried out since the test flight of the US military's $320m (£199m) unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle HTV-2 last August.
The Pentagon hopes the vehicle will eventually be developed to allow it to carry bombs to strike targets anywhere across the globe within an hour.
And in releasing the results of its analysis, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) indicated the test was not the failure it was initially thought to be.
The craft was launched off the back of a rocket fired from an air force base in California, and flew at 20 times the speed of sound (Mach 20) for around nine minutes before it was taken on a "controlled descent" and ditched into the sea.
The engineers behind the plane said that while they expected some of its skin to peel off during the flight, "larger than anticipated portions" were affected by temperatures of 2,000C.
This harmed the vehicle's aerodynamics, causing it "shockwaves" that were 100 times what it had been designed to withstand.
Air Force Major Chris Schulz said the test flight, which was the plane's second, provided important data on the craft.
"HTV-2's first flight test corrected our models regarding aerodynamic design within this flight regime," he said.
"We applied that data in flight test two, which ultimately led to stable aerodynamically controlled flight.
"Data collected during the second test flight revealed new knowledge about thermal-protective material properties and uncertainties for Mach 20 flight inside the atmosphere."
He said that calculations had been drawn from assumptions based on 'normal' flights, but that the test now allowed them to use data from actual hypersonic flights.
Major Schulz added: "The result of these findings is a profound advancement in understanding the areas we need to focus on to advance aerothermal structures for future hypersonic vehicles. Only actual flight data could have revealed this to us."
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what do you think?
USA USA USA USA !!!!!!! Poor Iran hey you can only have wood an coal to power your turbines !!!!!!!! Coz the USA says so !!!!!!!!
But it crashed...
assumptions another word for c"ckup , why are the U S so paranoid about being attacked is it because no other country in the world like or trust them , i am all british and i neither like or trust them at all .
A 320 million pounds expendable test vehicle? The other day, I watched on TV, a program about entire cities of tents in America full of poor people with no housing. They can afford to spend 320 million pounds burning some piece of garbage super fast plane into the sea ... and leave entire cities of people ... living in tents??? ... Whatever the tent dwellers want to do about that, don't ask me to stop 'em.
A prime example of the people who runs these countries and dont give a dam about the people in them. Its about time the people come first
Its 320 million dollars, not pounds And just for some context. Divide 320 million dollars by the population of the USA, which is 310 million, so it cost 1.032 dollars per head of population. Tents arn't even that cheap on ebay
Hmm, at this rate if they flew halfway round the world, dropped a bomb using normal gravity arrangements, the aircraft could be back home in its hangar and already fuelled up for the next mission - before the bomb hit the ground! I can see the lawyers response to this one - "no sir, it wasn't one of ours - we can prove that our plane was safely tucked up in its hangar at the time the bomb blast took place".
thankyou this means nuclear war all done even before breakfast
This reminds me of Adolf's secret weapon programme at the closing stages of WW2. Their hunger for world domination is rather unsettling.
So their people starve because they have no money, but have 320 Million to build a plane which can bomb anywhere (this means you,Iran), within an hour! priorities people, priorities. I think the rest of the world should club together and fund a base of the moon, because then we will all have somewhere to go when the USA, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Isreal all decide to blow each other up and destroy the Planet! Regarding these missile drops, do the USA etc really think they could drop a Nuclear bomb on a Country and not have ANY Comeback, either politically of environmentally?
Wow another sophisticated machine to hunt for oil. What a joke.
BLOODY HELL THATS BRILL
I must say that one of Americas saving graces is that they invest the most in R and D. $320 million is a drop in the ocean. Just imagine in 30 years that you could get a flight from London to Sydney that would take under an hour. Or commute between London and New York in just 30 minutes These are goals we should be looking to achieve. Go NASA!
At last a reasonable comment. The spin offs from these technological advances benefits everyone, as well as ensuring the west's security. This statement will no doubt be pounced upon by those who would blame the US for their own short sighted hatred of anything resembling the truth.