The Associated Press April 20, 2012, 3:05PM ET

DARPA releases cause of hypersonic glider anomaly

A U.S. defense agency has released findings of an investigation into why an experimental hypersonic glider abruptly aborted its 13,000 mph flight over the Pacific Ocean last summer.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said Friday that while gradual wearing away of the unmanned vehicle's skin was expected, a review board concluded that larger-than-anticipated portions peeled off.

The gaps created shock waves that caused the vehicle to roll. DARPA says the vehicle was able to right itself several times until disturbances overwhelmed it.

The craft dubbed Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 was launched from California atop a rocket and released for a glide at 20 times the speed of sound.

The research aims to give the U.S. military the ability to reach anywhere in the world in under an hour.


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