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DARPA releases video of HTV-2 second test flight


August 29, 2011

DARPA's HTV-2 hypersonic vehicle, which prematurely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on ...

DARPA's HTV-2 hypersonic vehicle, which prematurely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on its second test flight

The first - and perhaps only - video footage of the ill-fated second test-flight of DARPA's Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) has been released. Shot with a handheld camera by a crewmember aboard the Pacific Tracker, the first monitoring vessel able to visually track the HTV's initial entry into the atmosphere, the video shows the HTV-2 hurtling across the sky on August 11 at Mach 20 before its "controlled descent" into the Pacific Ocean.

While it would have been nice if DARPA had shelled out a couple of thou on a decent zoom lens or let some photographers tag along on the monitoring vessel, DARPA Director, Regina Dugan says the video, "gives us a visceral feel for what it means to fly at Mach 20."

DARPA released the handheld video alongside a video showing a speed comparison between the HTV-2, a C-5 and an F-18. No surprises for guessing that the HTV-2 leaves the other aircraft in its wake.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick


Jay Finke
29th August, 2011 @ 10:27 am PDT

Now that I see the video, I wish they would have spent some of the grant money on a better system for filming the re-entry, or more likely show us the video from the better system

29th August, 2011 @ 10:52 am PDT

You do know that they only pax that could survive a flight at Mach 20 are robots, right? So these 12 minute flights from N. Y. to L.A. would be for cargo?

29th August, 2011 @ 11:32 am PDT

Re nostarme

People once questioned weather you could survive 40 MPH. Once you make the the craft reliably survives the experience making it carry people is easy, assuming that it is not pulling too many Gs.

29th August, 2011 @ 01:40 pm PDT

That looked so very real! :)

Paul Anthony
29th August, 2011 @ 01:42 pm PDT

As far as surviving Mach 20 US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts have been surviving Mach 20 or there abouts since the 1960s. Speed does not is the sudden stop.

I thinknostarme is confusing G force with Mach numbers. Very different things.

29th August, 2011 @ 08:54 pm PDT

one would think that DARPA would be able to provide video better than 720p,,,sigh

Bill Bennett
29th August, 2011 @ 09:39 pm PDT

Millions of dollars in tax money spent on this stuff (still one of the tiniest parts of the budget, including all of NASA) and they can't spring for decent air and ground based video tracking equipment?

They could've borrowed all the gear NASA bought for monitoring Shuttle launches after the Columbia disaster.

Gregg Eshelman
30th August, 2011 @ 09:59 pm PDT

Re: Jay Finke

Actually, it looked pretty authentic to me. What struck you as a forged video? Do you watch a lot of experimental hyper-sonic test footage on a daily basis?

31st August, 2011 @ 01:46 pm PDT

What makes you think DARPA doesn't have really good video of this flight?

Robert Snyder
5th August, 2014 @ 05:36 am PDT
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