My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: DARPA HTV-2 and 100-Year Interstellar Travel Research – Diamonds are Forever in the Stars

Friday, August 26, 2011

DARPA HTV-2 and 100-Year Interstellar Travel Research – Diamonds are Forever in the Stars

Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds
Socrates quoted by Plato

DARPA’s HTV-2 vehicle successfully hit Mach 20 for three (3) minutes based on nine (9) minutes of Telemetry data received from the craft as designed based on the report in the article “DARPA releases video of HTV-2 hypersonic glider flight”, published August 25, 2011 By JOHN ANTCZAK, Associated Press, PhysOrg.

Hopefully too, DARPA may focus the Research towards the Design of a Extra-solar Vehicle fit for space travel as per their recent grant of US$500,000 to breathe life into the 100 Year Starship Study co-sponsored by NASA (National Aeronautical Space Administration) by November 11th 2011AD as stated in the article “DARPA offering $500,000 grant in November to fund Starship research”, published  AUGUST 18, 2011 by JEFF HUGHES, DigitalTrends

Director Regina Dugan has declared thus: “According to a preliminary review of the data collected prior to the anomaly encountered by the HTV-2 during its second test flight.HTV-2 demonstrated stable aerodynamically controlled Mach 20 hypersonic flight for approximately three minutes. It appears that the engineering changes put into place following the vehicle’s first flight test in April 2010 were effective. We do not yet know the cause of the anomaly for Flight 2.”

My article caught up with this exciting development and speculated the HTV-2’s failure may have been a communication problem with the vehicle at Mach 20, which is speeds approaching relativistic speeds at which Time Dilation begins to affect communications as per my blog article entitled  “DARPA's Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 - Learning To communicate and Walk Before Running”.

I suggested the use of a Laser-based communication system coupled with IBM Watson and its Natural Language capabilities to ease controls of the test vehicle in flight. I knew prior to the Second Test vehicle being launched, the problems that cause the first failure had been addressed in HTV-2’s design, namely by:

1.      Adjusting center of gravity
2.      Decreasing the angle of attack flown
3.      Using the onboard reaction control systems to augment vehicle flaps

Air Force Major Dr. Chris Schulz, DARPA HTV-2 Program Manager in the article “TEST FLIGHT #2 a SUCCESS for DARPA’s Falcon HTV-2”, published August 21 2011 by Greg in SD stated thus, quote: “We’ve confirmed that the HTV-2 made impact with the Pacific Ocean along its flight trajectory as planned in the event of an anomaly. This flight safety system is a significant engineering advance in that the system prompts a vehicle to monitor the parameters under which it is operating and exercise safety protocols completely autonomously should those parameters be breached.”

DARPA is yet to have the problem it its latest toy identified. So before anybody jumps the gun on me, I call dibs on the communication problem and solution as per my blog article entitled “DARPA's Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 - Learning To communicate and Walk Before Running” to help this modified SCRAMJet cum glider learn to come to a stop.

And why not? 

If we could design an extra-solar vehicle that can kick it up to Mach 20 and higher, there are entire planets out there made up of diamonds waiting to be mined as stated in the article “Astronomers discover diamond planet”, published AUGUST 26, 2011 RICK MARSHALL, DigitalTrends and the article “Astronomers: We've found a planet made of diamond”, published AUGUST 26, 2011 10:14 AM PDT By Chris Matyszczyk, CNET News - Technically Incorrect.

First stop: The Moon as the Moon Express as stated in my blog article entitled “Obama and Dr. Pell's Moon Express - Fly Me To the Moon, I''ll Drink To That”.

Thus far, it is a SERIOUS technical achievement to even be able to communicate at those speeds. A controlled landing instead of a splash down would be a history making event, as it would herald the dawn of Hypersonic Flight, piloted by AI!

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