August 15th, 2011
09:10 AM ET

Hypersonic flight failure won't stop DARPA's "mad scientists"

Editor's note: Michael Belfiore is the author of "The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs" as well as a speaker and commentator on innovation.

Last week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, attempted the impossible. It launched an unmanned aircraft from a rocket at 20 times the speed of sound with the goal of controlling its flight through the atmosphere for about 20 minutes - long enough to glide from the California coast to the Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific.

Such a feat had never before been attempted, and ground controllers lost contact with the craft, called the Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2, or HTV-2, nine minutes after it separated from its Minotaur rocket.

The HTV-2's hypersonic glide flight test was but one of many high-risk, potentially high-payoff projects funded by DARPA. DARPA is America's hidden innovation engine. Not so many know the name, but nearly everyone is familiar with the agency's work: GPS receivers that slip into our pockets, interactive computer displays and the Internet itself.

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Filed under: DARPA
soundoff (4 Responses)
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    August 3, 2012 at 12:15 am | Reply
  2. Odysseus Writes

    mars is near oh yeah lot of gold on mars warren Buffet will be happy

    August 17, 2011 at 10:24 am | Reply
  3. James Kirk

    Spock check the men's room for the Captain's log.

    August 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  4. Odysseus Writes

    First Contact : Finally they r here

    August 16, 2011 at 10:11 am | Reply

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