A $308 million aircraft that was capable of flying 20 times the speed sound, or four miles a second, has been lost, according to officials close to the U.S. military on Thursday.
This comes as the second aircraft that has been lost within a span of four months. Back in April during a previous test of a Falcon, the the vehicle was also lost within just minutes of it being released.
Fast forward four months and the government found itself in a déjà vu moment. On Thursday, the Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft was set to fly over the Pacific Ocean for a half hour before it returned back to Vandenberg Air Force in California. Initially, everything seemed to be going well until contact with the flight was lost shortly at the glide phase. It was expected that it was going to separate from its rocket at the top of its ascent and then head back down to Earth.
“Downrange assets did not re-acquire tracking or telemetry. HTV-2 has an autonomous flight termination capacity,” the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said on Twitter shortly after losing contact with the aircraft.
The flight was rumored by many to have been able to reach any target in the world within just an hour, and was designed to be the fastest aircraft ever, with a traveling distance of 13,000mph.