Monday, August 15, 2011

DARPA's Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 - Learning To communicate and Walk Before Running

God hath made Man upright, but they have sought out many inventions
Ecclesiastes, 7 vs 29, New English Version

As is now well known news, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2  or HTV-2 vehicle, which had a successful test flight back in April of 2010AD, lost contact with its handlers on Thursday August 11th 2011AD and splashed down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean as stated in the article “Will DARPA's 13,000-mph plane fly?”, published AUGUST 11, 2011 7:41 AM PDT by Tim Hornyak, CNET News – CRAVE.

The official statement from DARPA reads thus: “More than nine minutes of data was collected before an anomaly caused loss of signal.

This craft is supposedly capable of speeds of Mach 20, which is twenty (20) times the speed of sound. At Mach 1, which is 1220km/hr or 732 mph as stated in the article “Future Fighters”, published 1981 by Marshall Cavndish, Partworks Ltd, 58 Old Compton street, London WIV JPA, England, p. 788, Mach 20 comes in at a whopping 24400 km/hr or 14640 mph, hence the title of CNET News Tim Hornyak article!

This after the HTV-2 being launched atop a Minotaur IV Lite rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to test out DARPA’s ability to control a vehicle moving at speeds higher than Mach 5 or Hypersonic as the Americans call it. HTV-2 intended splashdown in The Pacific Ocean near Kwajalein Atoll, some four thousand miles (4,000 miles) or six thousand six hundred and sixty seven (6667 km) downrange from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Apparently this target was missed, as since then DARPA has yet to make any declaration as to having broken Air Force's X-51A WaveRider record of two hundred (200) seconds of autonomous flight at the Hypersonic Speed of Mach 5 (6100 km/hr or 3675 mph) using a SCRAMJet (SuperSonic Combustion Ramjet) as stated in the article “X-51A races to hypersonic record”, published MAY 26, 2010 8:33 PM PDT By Jonathan E. Skillings, CNET News - MILITARY TECH.  

For the record, the Air Force's X-51A WaveRider was launched from a B1 Bomber in midflight as opposed to riding atop a rocket and propelled itself to the required speed using a RAMJet. The SCRAMjet then kicks in when the air squeezing through the Air Inlet at the front has a compression is high enough to ignite aerosolized Jet fuel. At those speeds, traditional RAMjet Engines bearings cannot spin fast enough and not be worn down due to constant fatigue.

The SCRAMjet thus takes over from the RAMjet and kicks the Test Vehicle Hypersonic, Galaxy Rangers Style! So obviously, DARPA’s HTV-2 is also a SCRAMjet like the Air Force's X-51A WaveRider, but modified for Mach 20 flight!

The problem, as is easily imaginable at those speeds: reliable communication with a hypersonic vehicle travelling at sub-relativistic speeds (speed of light) at which Time Dilation occurs. Thus telemetry reading obtained, if any have to be adjusted using equations that typically only apply to objects traveling at the speed of light. 

This as Mach 20, the intended speed of the HTV-2 , is 11440 km/hr faster than the speed of an electron in a vacuum, making Relativity….well, relevant! Or finding the Test Vehicle for that matter after it's lost from visible or Radio horizons, Moonraker (1979) or Hunt for Red October (1990) Style.

This was never a problem with the Air Force's X-51A WaveRider, which only achieved speeds of Mach 5, as all GPS Telemetry and Radio contact were maintained from the flying aircraft. Telemetry and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) lock would logically be lost at speeds approaching Mach 20.

Thus the solution that DARPA can consider from yours truly?

An Optical Receiver as opposed to a Radio Receiver, effectively a FLORA (Fiberless Optical Receiver Array) Transmit/Receive or transceiver device that transmits Data using Optical frequencies such as using a Laser (Light Emitted by Stimulate emission of Radiation) as the Transmission medium. At first that may sound impossible, given the know fact of beam spreading with optical frequencies and maintaining LOS (Line of Sight) contact with the Test Vehicle) would be difficult, let alone at Hypersonic Speeds.

But Lasers are monochromatic light, and so does not experience beam spreading. Even at distances as far as the Moon, it was and still is a Laser that was reflected from a Geodesic Reflector placed on the Moon that was and still is used to this day to determine the distance to this our closest heavenly body.

A similar concept can be used, but this time with an aircraft, such as a modified Boeing 747 following behind the SCRAMjet with a FLORA based communications package to maintain the uplink to the HTV-2, which logically can only travel in a straight line.

Also, sending control signals to a speeding electron than has nanoseconds to make flight corrections would require an AI (Artificial Intelligent) onboard computer and ground controller, not to mention a faster means of communicating with the Test craft, it would also be recommended that DARPA commandeer the resources of IBM’s Watson as mentioned in my Geezam Blog article entitled “IBM and the Watson”.

IBM’s Watson, whose super computer prowess combined with its understanding of Natural Language were made world famous on Jeopardy, would make the perfect test pilot to remote pilot DARPA’s via this FLORA uplink, as DARPA personnel can communicate with the HPV-2 via Natural Language and still have the high level of control that only an AI brain can achieve, without fearing the vehicle will decide to start a war by upstaging its handlers and crashing into a populated area, killing people.

Should this recommendation be researched and approved by DARPA, it will usher in an age of Hypersonic Flight. Not controlled by man, but by Natural Language AI and guided via Laser telemetry with pinpoint accuracy to its target.

At that point in the Future, in its application in war time, Peace Time applications such as the challenge of building an Ion Drive Nuclear powered Starburst Engine for Interstellar Travel as stated in my blog articles entitled “Alternative Energy and the Ion Drive Engine - Star Trek and Andromeda” and the article  “Alternative Energy and Daedelus - Avatar and Planet Gliese 581g Next Door”, may be attempted.

All now very possible now that the STS-135 Atlantis has ended the NASA Shuttle program – and ushers in an age of Privatization of Space as stated in my blog articles entitled “STS Atlantis test Forward Osmosis Filtration Device – Moonraker meets Waterworld for Water Sector Liberalization”.

Just as soon as DARPA can figure out how to land such an aircraft!
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