Fast glider goes… ooops.

So, you’d think this’d be bigger news, but I heard about it on the Geeky Gadgets blog. (That’s its actual name.) DARPA, the military research organization lost one of its very fast, very experimental planes:

The maiden flight of DARPA’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (or HTV-2) ended with the loss of the hypersonic glider after just 9 minutes.

The Hypersonic Glider capable of speeds of Mach 20 was lost by its tracking systems as DARPA tested the autopilot through a number of maneuvers. The test flight was supposed to cover a total of 4,100 nautical miles (7,600 kilometers) from lift-off.

There are more details about the HTV2 project at The Register, which covers all the bases, as well as at PhysOrg and Aviation Week’s Ares defense blog, which includes a short description of how you can have a glider that goes significantly faster than the speed of sound (which is what “hypersonic” means). (Hint: space is involved.)