Today the US military lost contact after 36 minutes with rocket-launched carbon fibre spaceplane designed to fly at 13,000mph.
The Falcon HTV-2, launched aboard a rocket, is the fastest plane ever built, and it disappeared during a hypersonic test flight over the Pacific. After separating from the rocket at the edge of space and beginning its return to Earth, the aircraft “went silent during the gliding stage of the test flight, when it was due to perform a serious of manoeuvres as it hurtled through the atmosphere”.
Even though the project experienced some trouble today, I had to use this AI to talk about it, because it’s just so effing cool. The aircraft had been expected to reach a top speed of Mach 20, or 13,000 mph. That would get you from New York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes!!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the aircract can withstand temperatures of 2000C caused by the ultrafast flow of air around it.
Only two Falcon prototypes were built, and today’s test was the last chance to prove success before the project is considered for closure.
But what are your thoughts on projects of this type? Speak up engineers? What of costs versus potential benefits? What of costs of development versus potential profit of success? What of peripheral technologies? And what of adventure and human achievement? Are these endeavors worth undertaking, or are there other pressing issues in the world toward which we should apply our brain power and resources?