US hypersonic glider launched

2011-08-11 21:34

Los Angeles - A rocket carrying an experimental unmanned hypersonic glider has been launched from an air base on the central California coast.

The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency used Twitter to announce the launch on Thursday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base 209km northwest of Los Angeles.

The rocket is carrying the agency's experimental Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2, which is supposed to separate from the booster at the edge of space and manoeuvre through the atmosphere at 20 921km/h before diving into the ocean.

A similar vehicle was launched last year and returned nine minutes of data before contact was prematurely lost.

The US military is trying to develop technology to respond to threats around the globe at speeds of Mach 20 or greater.

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