NEWS | Aug. 9, 2011

Air Force Prepares to Launch DARPA Hypersonic Vehicle

By SPACE & MISSILE SYSTEMS CENTER (AFSPC)\t Office of Public Affairs

Artist's rendering of the HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft.
Artist's rendering of the HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft launching from orbit. (more)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. - The second flight of theHypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, developed by the Defense Advanced ResearchProjects Agency, is scheduled to launch Wednesday at 7 a.m. PDT from SpaceLaunch Complex 8 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. , aboard a Minotaur IVLite rocket.

The early morning launch is the second flight of HTV-2 in a test seriesdesigned to validate technologies that will enable high-performance,long-duration, and maneuverable hypersonic flight.

Furthermore, the HTV-2 program serves as a demonstration of the hypersonictechnologies that are needed to achieve a prompt global reach capability.

This will be the 4th launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Minotaur IVrocket which uses decommissioned Peacekeeper intercontinental ballisticmissile motors. This is also the 9th launch for the Minotaur program fromVandenberg AFB, Space Launch Complex 8. DARPA selected the Minotaur IVlaunch vehicle highlighting the responsive, reliable and cost-effectivenature of the rocket.

The Minotaur family of launch vehicles are provided via theOrbital/Suborbital Program 2 and managed by the U.S. Air Force SpaceDevelopment and Test Directorate's Launch Systems Division located atKirtland AFB, NM.

"The first flight of HTV-2 allowed DARPA to greatly increase ourunderstanding of the hypersonic environments encountered by the vehicle; thedata collection was a resounding success. The entire team is lookingforward to yet another successful flight demonstration for our DARPApartners," said Col. Kent Nickle, Chief of SMC/SD's Launch Systems Divisionand HTV-2 Flight 2 Mission Director.