Contact lost with hypersonic glider launched from central California coast

Mercer 20173

DARPA

An artist's rendition of the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Contact was lost with the unmanned spacecraft shortly after it launched Thursday morning.

Contact has been lost with an unmanned hypersonic glider that was launched atop a rocket early today from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast.

The glider was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA for U.S. defense research into super-fast global strike capability. There's no word yet on how many of the mission's goals were achieved before contact was lost.

Thursday's launch had been rescheduled from Wednesday due to weather conditions, according to the Vandenberg Air Force Base website. This was the second of two planned flights of the glider. Contact was also lost during the first mission.

The glider, known as the Falcon Hypersonic Techonology Vehicle 2, is designed to be launched to the edge of space, separate from its booster and maneuver through the atmosphere at 13,000 miles an hour before crashing into the ocean.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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