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Experts Try To Determine Why Experimental High Speed Aircraft Launched From Santa Barbara County Went Out Of Control

Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 2:11pm

The second launch of an experimental aircraft from Vandenberg Air Force base designed to fly at 13,000 miles an hour has ended in failure, with the craft crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle two was launched on a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:45 Thursday morning.  Air Force officials say the launch went as planned, and the crafted deployed, but about nine minutes into the mission they lost contact with the unmanned vehicle.  They say they believe the problem is with controlling the flight of the craft, which is theoretically capable of flying from Los Angeles to New York in 13 minutes.

The first flight of the HTV-2 last year also ended in failure, with the craft steered into the ocean by flight controllers after they experienced major control issues.

The HTV-2 is a military craft, with many details of its design classified.

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