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Launch of hypersonic aircraft pushed back a day by weather

August 10, 2011 |  9:15 am

HTV

The launch of an experimental aircraft capable of reaching 13,000 mph was scrubbed Wednesday because of bad weather at Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara.

The unmanned aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, was scheduled to be launched at 7 a.m. PDT aboard a Minotaur IV rocket, made by Orbital Sciences Corp. But when that time rolled around the Air Force held the countdown.

A half-hour later, Vandenberg officials announced on the base’s Facebook page: "Today's launch of the 30W Minotaur IV rocket has been scrubbed due to poor weather downrange. The launch has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Aug. 11, between the launch window of 7 a.m. to 1 p.m."

Jeremy Eggers, a spokesmen at Vandenberg, later said in an email that "clouds, showers, and areas of lightning downrange have delayed our launch today. Weather conditions downrange look more favorable for a launch tomorrow." 

The arrowhead-shaped Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., is testing new technology that promises to deliver a military vehicle that can deliver a strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour -- part of its “prompt global strike” concept.

The program is being funded by U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

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-- W.J. Hennigan

twitter.com/wjhenn

Photo: A Minotaur IV carrying the first Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 is launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base on April 22, 2010. Credit: Senior Airman Andrew Satran / U.S. Air Force

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