The Pentagon will test a super fast, unmanned aircraft that can travel at Mach 20 -twenty times faster than the speed of sound, up to 13,000 miles per hour.
The aircraft is fast enough to travel from coast to coast (between Los Angeles and New York) in just 12 minutes, and withstand temperatures hotter than the melting point of steel! It also has the ability to send a missile to an identified target within an hour.
The Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will test the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) Thursday morning from Vandenberg Air Force in California. A Minotaur IV Lite rocket will lift off with the HTV-2, and release the aircraft after penetrating the atmosphere.
The test flight will also test the navigation control systems and carbon composite materials which are designed to withstand the extremely hot temperatues that the aircraft will go against.
HTV-2 is DARPA's second test flight after a few changes were made when the first attempt failed in April of 2010 and crashed into the ocean just nine minutes after takeoff. The aircraft was never recovered. Should the test fail this time, DARPA will not be building another Falcon HTV.
The test is expected to last about thirty minutes, and the rocket launch will not be shown online live.