Changes to FALCON HTV Hypersonic Project
In a January 2006 update to our original article covering the FALCON HTV hypersonic space plane, DID noted that the a Mach 15+ flight of HTV-1 was supposed to take place in September 2007. Now a Flight International article notes that changes in the FLACON program have led to a change in plans – and may affect the program as a whole.
DARPA and prime contractor Lockheed Martin have decided not to build and fly the two planned HTV-1 craft after subcontractor C-CAT experienced delamination problems with the curved leading edges of the carbon-based aeroshell. Instead, they have shifted efforts to a different HTV-2 design whose multi-piece aeroshell has thinner leading edges and will be easier to build because it’s less of a technical stretch. Meanwhile, thermal protection research will continue, as will research into the scramjet engines required. DID has updated our FALCON HTV anchor article to accommodate the resulting changes, add additional background, and cover a recent contract.