DARPA releases cause of hypersonic glider anomaly

Apr 21, 2012 By JOHN ANTCZAK , Associated Press
DARPA releases cause of hypersonic glider anomaly (AP)
This artists rendering provided by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency shows a Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2, an unmanned hypersonic glider that likely aborted its 13,000 mph flight over the Pacific Ocean last summer because unexpectedly large sections of its skin peeled off, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said Friday April 20, 2012. (AP Photo/DARPA)

(AP) -- An unmanned hypersonic glider likely aborted its 13,000 mph flight over the Pacific Ocean last summer because unexpectedly large sections of its skin peeled off, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said Friday.

The Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., atop a rocket and released on Aug. 11, 2011, was part of research aimed at developing super-fast global strike capability for the Department of Defense.

The vehicle demonstrated stable aerodynamically controlled flight at speeds up to 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20, for three minutes before a series of upsets caused its autonomous flight safety system to bring it down in the ocean, DARPA said in a statement.

A gradual wearing away of the vehicle's skin was expected because of extremely high temperatures, but an independent engineering review board concluded that the most probable cause was "unexpected aeroshell degradation, creating multiple upsets of increasing severity that ultimately activated the Flight Safety System," the statement said.

Initial shockwaves created by the gaps in the skin were more than 100 times what the vehicle was designed to withstand, but it was still able to recover and return to controlled flight, said Kaigham J. Gabriel, DARPA's acting director.

Eventually the upsets grew beyond its ability to recover.

The 2011 flight was the second time an HTV-2 was launched. The first flight, in April 2010, also ended prematurely.

Data from that flight was used to correct aerodynamic design models for the second test, resulting in controlled flight, and now data from the latest flight will be used to adjust assumptions about thermal modeling, Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, the DARPA program manager, said in the statement.

"The result of these findings is a profound advancement in understanding the areas we need to focus on to advance aerothermal structures for future hypersonic vehicles. Only actual flight data could have revealed this to us," he said.

Most specific details of the program are secret. DARPA has released artist renderings showing a craft that looks something like the tip of a spear. After the 2011 flight the agency released handheld video, taken aboard a monitoring ship, that showed a dot streaking across the sky.

The HTV-2 would have splashed down in the ocean regardless of the anomaly. The vehicles are intended to be used once and are not recovered.

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Telekinetic
4 / 5 (4) Apr 21, 2012
A metamaterial skin that sheds heat faster or gets cooler in reaction to heat is what's required to achieve these speeds, or create a vacuum "shell" surrounding the craft, like the Russian-designed torpedo that travels through a bubble of gas emanating from its nose. Easier yet is to ask the aliens how they do it.
sender
1 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2012
Regarding the first post.
Utilize colloidal quantum dots and surface insulators encapsulating a surface in photons.

This could yield possible near c mobility as well in the big picture.

A metamaterial skin that sheds heat faster or gets cooler in reaction to heat is what's required to achieve these speeds, or create a vacuum "shell" surrounding the craft, like the Russian-designed torpedo that travels through a bubble of gas emanating from its nose. Easier yet is to ask the aliens how they do it.

baudrunner
1 / 5 (2) Apr 21, 2012
It seems to me that a saucer shape might be best for reentry purposes, because their puzzlement of this "unexpected" event leads me to believe that the shape of this craft was such that it was too streamlined. In a saucer shaped vehicle, the leading edge is going to receive the most heat stress if reentry is perpendicular to the inertial factors in the atmosphere, and the circular shape distributes the heat more evenly and over a larger perimeter.
roboferret
5 / 5 (2) Apr 21, 2012
It's a shame starlite (http://en.wikiped...tarlite) never came to anything. If it's half as good as claimed, it would be ideal for this sort of application.
Tangent2
1 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2012
I think that ideally they would need a metamaterial that can convert heat into electricity at as close to 100% efficiency as possible. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Apr 21, 2012
Everyone above this post is a veritable kook.
Telekinetic
5 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2012
Everyone above this post is a veritable kook.

That's what they usually call a scientist who's ahead of his time, but will only acknowledge the
work he's done when he's out of the picture. They have neither imagination or original ideas, just bitterness from dreary minds.
CardacianNeverid
5 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
That's what they usually call a scientist who's ahead of his time, but will only acknowledge the
work he's done when he's out of the picture. They have neither imagination or original ideas, just bitterness from dreary minds -Ekka

Ekka was right!
Vendicar_Decarian
0.7 / 5 (42) Apr 22, 2012
Why is America spending so much time and money on trying to find faster ways of murdering people when the nation is fiscally bankrupt?

Is it because it is morally bankrupt as well?

I think so.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2012
Americans sell out their own nation for peanuts. In no time others should be able to obtain the schematics and construct a superior design. Or some Vatican-backed president like Clinton will offer the blueprints for free as he did ballistic missile designs for China.
CardacianNeverid
5 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
I misattributed the quoted text above!
Irukanji
not rated yet Apr 22, 2012
Who cares if they are developing it for faster destruction of things? More people die every 2 years of natural causes than have been lost in all of history from battles.

Anyway, from what I can tell they have attempted to make the skin using multiple pieces. This is a problem in it self, because it creates more and more places for the pressure differential to get inside and rip it apart. Ideally you would use a single piece for the skin, leaving only the rear of the craft open. And through this opening you can stick a pre-assembled warhead/engine/fuel/guidance system in, perhaps even tailored to the mission. Of course it needs a way to get air into it, but the intake could be crafted so it slots into the front of the engine and is extra reinforced.

You could cushion the stretching effect on the airframe by separating the internals from the externals, perhaps with a kind of spring(think leaf springs in a car, but smaller and lighter) to keep everything level inside.
roboferret
5 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
Everyone above this post is a veritable kook.

In what sense was my post kooky? Starlite is a real heat resistant material, but it's been so closely guarded by its (now deceased) inventor it hasn't been commercialised. It's efficacy has been verified by ICI the MOD and the British atomic research establishment, and been demoed on national TV.
Lurker2358
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2012
Why is America spending so much time and money on trying to find faster ways of murdering people when the nation is fiscally bankrupt?


Read a history book, bub.

Being the target of un- provoked attacks every decade or two sort of makes you a tad defensive.

Not only that, but when we come to some other country's rescue, or free people from the oppression of a life-long dictator, they don't even thank us.

Yes, we spend too much on military, but lately the spending has actually been focused on technology that is intended to both reduce the size of our own military, as well as reduce any civilian casualties. I mean heck, we go out of our way not to harm civilians, even in situations where any other nation would attack mercilessly, or even when it's a tactical disadvantage or a risk to our own people.

Is it because it is morally bankrupt as well?

I think so.


If anything, we are too lenient with foreign dictators, terrorists, and their supporters.
Lurker2358
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2012
Who cares if they are developing it for faster destruction of things? More people die every 2 years of natural causes than have been lost in all of history from battles.


It would be even worse than that if not for all those vaccines, antibiotics, and free medical procedures the "evil" Americans do, through the U.N. for the poor people in Africa, South American, and the Middle East, and there is far more of it done through private "faith based" programs, or just individuals and organizations such as the Red Cross, etc, and missions than what people realize.

And before any anti-U.s. poster tries to spin that...

The U.S. contributes more to the UN than any other country -- 22 percent of the regular UN budget and 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget.


http://www.better...funding/

That's right. 4.5% of the world population pays 24% to 27% of the U.N. budget.
ziprarrar
3.5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2012
@Lurker,

haha, are you serous? when did Iraq or Afganistam attack US? or have I missed something?

ryggesogn2
1.2 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2012
@Lurker,

haha, are you serous? when did Iraq or Afganistam attack US? or have I missed something?


1990 Iraq attacked and 2001 Afghanistan attacked the US.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2012

In what sense was my post kooky?


Because you promoted a material you know scant little of, which hasn't been peer-reviewed nor thoroughly tested, nor do you know where exactly you're going to put it and how, yet you think it would be "ideal" for the purpose.

The most we know about the material on a cursory glance is that it could keep an egg cold under 5 minutes of "blowtorch attack" on a television show. Same thing I saw done with stone wool at a home improvement expo last year.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2012
Everyone above this post is a veritable kook.

That's what they usually call a scientist who's ahead of his time, but will only acknowledge the work he's done when he's out of the picture. They have neither imagination or original ideas, just bitterness from dreary minds.


Yeah. You called for a material that gets cold when you apply heat to it. Such a material would cool down spontaneously just from the ambient heat and break the conservation of energy.

And if it didn't break the conservation of energy, it would have to dump the heat it removes somewhere, which means it would have to form a heat gradient. If you then connected a heat engine to that gradient, you'd have a perpetual motion machine of the second order that turns ambient heat to work by reversing entropy.

If that isn't kooky then I don't know what is.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2012
A metamaterial skin

WTF? Do you even know what metamaterials look like? Do you know how quickly those nano-structures would burn away?

Utilize colloidal quantum dots and surface insulators encapsulating a surface in photons.

I call Bullshit Bingo on this one. This makes no sense on any level. None at all.

Everyone above this post is a veritable kook.
That's what they usually call a scientist who's ahead of his time,

But there are far, far more kooks than scientists who are ahead of their time. And most certainly none of them sit their fat asses in front of a computer and post on obscure sci-journalims forums. You, sir, are a kook. No doubt about it whatsoever.

Why is America spending so much time and money on trying to find faster ways of murdering people

Because weapons exports are the only profitable export industry the US has left.
roboferret
5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2012

The most we know about the material on a cursory glance is that it could keep an egg cold under 5 minutes of "blowtorch attack" on a television show. Same thing I saw done with stone wool at a home improvement expo last year.

I'm guessing you missed the more recent one where it allegedly resisted a simulated nuclear flash. I'm certainly sceptical about it (and made that clear in my original comment), and am not promoting it, but it does show promise, and would be useful as a heat shield, and has been promoted as such. It's not perpetual motion, just a promising material that is relevant to the problem faced in the article. I'm not sure why you have got your panties in a bunch over this. People are very quick with the insults once they are given anonymity, on this site particularly.
ziphead
1 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
Why is America spending so much time and money on trying to find faster ways of murdering people when the nation is fiscally bankrupt?


Because if you have all those wonderful toys and others don't, nobody dares to collect the debts.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2012
"Yeah. You called for a material that gets cold when you apply heat to it. Such a material would cool down spontaneously just from the ambient heat and break the conservation of energy."- Eikka

Recent experiments prove that atoms can be cooled down to near absolute zero with lasers and may replace cryogenics in certain applications in the future. Your problem is literal-mindedness, asking for proof of an off-handed suggestion that DARPA would already be using if it actually existed. Your other problem is that you're a preening, fatuous prig with nothing to offer except to adore yourself as you write off all that doesn't yet exist as "impossible".
zz6549
5 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2012
Your other problem is that you're a preening, fatuous prig with nothing to offer except to adore yourself as you write off all that doesn't yet exist as "impossible".


No. YOUR problem with Eikka is that he used logical reason and physical principles to demonstrate how your idea was complete garbage.

Progress requires imagination, but it also requires knowledge. We won't get anywhere by throwing out bullshit - no matter how much you deny the laws of physics, they won't go anywhere. Everything that can be accomplished must be accomplished with these laws in mind. Accept these principles, understand the principles, and then use the principles to your advantage.

That is engineering.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2012
@ryggesogn2 1990 Iraq attacked and 2001 Afghanistan attacked the US.
Link?
Being the target of un- provoked attacks every decade or two sort of makes you a tad defensive.
By who? Other than Israel, I mean. And your military bases projecting power don't count either.
Telekinetic
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2012

We won't get anywhere by throwing out bullshit - no matter how much you deny the laws of physics, they won't go anywhere. Everything that can be accomplished must be accomplished with these laws in mind. Accept these principles, understand the principles, and then use the principles to your advantage.

That is engineering.

No, that is religion. Thermodynamic laws were meant to explain, not constrain. Many here squawk about the violation of these laws when there is no violation, particularly about new sources and forms of energy. Besides imagination, one should have a sense of astonishment at every new discovery. I'm still astonished by sound cancellation, which will undoubtedly give way to applications in other research fields. Cooling atoms with heat? Again, astonishing, and proven just recently. I object to a false stance of superiority from those who think they know the limits of science, when in reality, we still know very little and what we don't know is limitless.