DARPA’s Mach 20 Glider – 12 Minutes NY to LA
DARPA, a research agency of the US Department of Defense, attempted flying a vehicle today that could one day travel at 13,000mph. At those speeds, the unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), could fly from New York to Los Angeles in 12 Minutes. More strategically, a vehicle like this could reach anywhere in the world in under an hour.
Mid-20th century attempts at flying aircraft through the sound barrier of Mach 1 had already proved challenging. The pressure waves that form at the sound barrier change the dynamics of flight, impacting aerodynamics and overall control. Fast forward to today, and engineers are grappling with travel at 20x the speed of sound that could encounter even further unknown hurdles. Today’s test flight unfortunately failed when contact was lost; however, the premise is still an amazing endeavor.