Wanted: Hypersonic Aircraft That Can Reach Anywhere on Earth in an Hour

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DARPA

Fly anywhere on Earth in an hour. That’s the goal for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to Nextgov.com. DARPA is the Department of Defense’s secretive research arm known mostly for commissioning freaky robots.

How fast do you have to travel to reach any point on the globe in 60 minutes? Mach 20, or 20 times the speed of sound, in something called extreme hypersonic flight. To put that in context, Lockheed’s SR-71 Blackbird, the world’s fastest air-breathing piloted aircraft, maxes out at about Mach 3.2.

Making the jump to Mach 20 won’t be easy. According to DARPA, flying that fast would create temperatures of 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than a blast furnace capable of melting steel. Not to mention compensating for things like wind gusts is difficult when you’re traveling at around 13,000 miles per hour.

A hypersonic aircraft would be used for “missions ranging from  space access to survivable, time-critical transport to conventional prompt global strike.” In case you were wondering, “prompt global strike” is military-speak for being able to blow something up anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice.

To reach its goal of launching a successful test flight by 2016, DARPA is hosting a “Proposers’ Day” on August 14 to reveal exactly what it’s looking for from companies that want to compete for about $40 million in initial prize money and $30 million in renewal contracts.

Mind you, no one is expected to build this thing on their own, just develop technologies that will help it fly — like, say, skin that doesn’t peel off and cause the aircraft to crash into the ocean, as in the case of the Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2.

[via Nextgov.com]

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3 comments
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Aircraft Tug amp; Airplane Towing
Aircraft Tug amp; Airplane Towing

Very ambitious and interesting plan, not sure if it can be done by 2016. I see far too many safety hurdles, government restrictions and red tape in the future. 

Firozali A.Mulla
Firozali A.Mulla

We need new mechanism and we lack this as what we have is now getting

obsolete daily. Only few remain and for how long without cash we have no idea Hopes are evaporating that top US technology

companies will offer a safe harbor this year from the economic storms swirling

across Europe, Asia and the United States. Investors should brace for some

of the biggest names in software and hardware -- from Microsoft Corp andI BM to Intel Corp -- to disappoint when Big Tech

begins reporting numbers next week, analysts said. The trio's shares are

all in the red for July, in the wake of earnings warnings over the past week

from smaller peers, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Applied Materials Inc

and Informatics Corp. Corporate IT budgets have historically proved more

resilient to worsening macro-economic conditions than other kinds of spending,

because businesses invest on the assumption that technology boosts productivity

and helps save them costs over the long term. But investors may have misjudged

the depth of the European crisis, and with once-reliable-as-clockwork Chinese

growth waning, demand in other emerging markets has not picked up enough of the

slack. The profit warnings could signal a broader pullback in orders,

which means that Wall Street's earnings projections now appear over-optimistic

to some outside experts. "I don't think the companies or the market

anticipated the kind of slowdown like the one we are going to see in the second

half," said Fred Hickey, editor of the High-Tech Strategist Newsletter for

investors. "Companies haven't had a chance to adjust estimates yet

and they will. That's coming," said Hickey, who has been following the

tech industry since the 1980s. The one bright spot is Apple Inc, which

still has many fans on Wall Street. The iPhone and iPad maker is one of the few major tech stocks

to have gained in July, to the tune of 4 per cent. Apple has beaten

analysts' earnings forecasts seven out of the past eight quarters by at least

12 per cent. Last quarter, it reported earnings 22.5 per cent above Wall

Street estimates. Its

performance has propped up the entire sector and analysts expect a new iPhone

this year to keep that up Estimates, which accords higher weight to the

timeliest forecasts from historically more accurate analysts, pegs Apple as

likely to report earnings of more than 1 per cent above the Street's average

forecast. In contrast, Microsoft, which is preparing to launch Windows

8 and tablets, may report

earnings 0.7 per cent below the average. "Guidance could turn out to

be very conservative given momentum with new Macs, a potential iPad mini and

on-going success with the new iPad," Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes said in a research note.

Apple said the latest iPad will hit Chinese store shelves on July 20. I thank you Firozali

A.Mulla DBA

Sachi Mohanty
Sachi Mohanty

Yeah everything is getting faster.

Honeymoons will last six hours.

Staying married to the same person for more than three years will be illegal.

@sachi_bbsr:twitter