DARPA Close to Completing Investigation into HTV-2 Failure

Falcon hypersonic technology vehicle (HTV)

Global Security Newswire reports that defense officials are close to finishing their investigation into the failure of the HTV-2 hypersonic vehicle on April 22:

A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency review board “is in the last phases of its internal review” of the Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2’s maiden flight test and should report out in “the next month or so,” Zachary Lemnios said at a breakfast session with reporters this morning. “When that review board finishes their work, we’ll come out with a statement on exactly what’s happened.”

Using the HTV-2 technology, a joint DARPA-Air Force effort is aimed at developing a Conventional Strike Missile capable of achieving Mach 20 speeds…

Initial DARPA analysis was that the loss of the vehicle might have resulted from its self-destruct apparatus, which could automatically terminate flight if it sensed any divergence from its programmed route, according to one defense consultant. Alternatively, any number of other operating failures might have led to the crash, according to officials.

The Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2 reportedly lacks a device that might have signaled activation of the self-destruct sequence, somewhat complicating the DARPA analysis.

Oops. That would have been useful.

The vehicle was lost nine into the flight after it had separated from its Minotaur 4 booster. Although the HTV-2 never made it to its target, it sent back extremely valuable data during its mission, defense officials say.

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