Is anyone else thinking…

Written By: - Date published: 5:48 pm, August 12th, 2011 - 53 comments
Categories: humour, tv - Tags:

It seems that the US has lost an experimental hypersonic space plane:

Fastest-ever plane goes missing on test flight

A US military plane developed to fly anywhere in the world in an hour has gone missing on its second test flight.  The unmanned hypersonic plane developed for US defence research into super-fast global strike capability was launched atop a rocket overnight but contact was lost after the experimental craft began flying on its own, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said. …

The craft is part of a US military initiative to develop technology to respond to threats at 20 times the speed of sound or greater, reaching any part of the globe in an hour. …

The agency said the launch of the Minotaur 4 rocket was successful and separation was confirmed. It next reported that telemetry had been lost.  No further details were immediately reported. There was no immediate response to an email request to DARPA for information on the mission.

Doesn’t sound good does it.  Hey  now – and recall here that it is Friday night! – is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?  Compare Falcon-V2 and Farscape-1.  Uncanny.

53 comments on “Is anyone else thinking…”

  1. r0b 1

    Not that I ever took to Farscape by the way.  I’m more of a Firefly kinda guy.  Go the Browncoats!  Sigh.

    • Deadly_NZ 1.1

      Naa Farscape then Bab 5, I could not really get into Firefly.

      • Puddleglum 1.1.1

        What’s ‘Farscape’, ‘Bab 5’ and ‘Firefly’ (not to mention ‘Browncoats’)? Am I missing something?

        • Carol

          sci fi TV programmes.

        • whistlerspa

          Sci Fi shows (as all us geeks know) Farscape was Ozzy made 2002ish Firefly 2004ish and Bab 5 not sure (latter 2 Yankie) 8/10, 9/10 and 4/10 respectively

          • Colonial Viper

            Come now, most of B5 was a solid 5/10 or 6/10. And some of the episodes around the Shadow War and the civil war with Earth Gov were damn fine, up around the 8/10 mark.

            Of course, a few of the episodes were kitschy and improbable, but it is SF 😛

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Tried watching Firefly. The movie wasn’t bad but the series sucked.

      • Boris Clarksky 1.2.1

        [I see you’ve been banned under another name. Good bye then. r0b]

      • Vicky32 1.2.3

        Tried watching Firefly. The movie wasn’t bad but the series sucked.

        I disagree! It was good, but nowhere near the standard of B5, which is in my Top 5…
        My theories about the plane :
        1. It became sentient, and was so disgusted at what the Amerikans intended it to do, it said “sod this for a game of soldiers, I am out of here”
        2. The greys took it..

  2. Afewknwothetruth 2

    As the US descends into fascism and starvation due to resource depletion and corruption in high places the military will continue to think up new ways of squandering precious finite resources to counter fabricated threats.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1


      The economy is about to collapse and so the US is looking for more ways to try and secure the dwindling resources.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Roman Empire did the same during its drawn out collapse. Even as territorial integrity declined and the wealth of the people disappeared more and more resources was diverted into the military in an attempt to hold the empire together against outside forces.

        • mik e

          CV The Romans turned to religion to hold their empire together not unlike the tea party palin bachman

          • Colonial Viper

            With the legions being overwhelmed and the land north of the Rhine no longer accessible, what else could Romans do to explain their fall from favour (the end of Roman Exceptionalism if you like) but turn to religious explanations.

            Yeah, exactly like Bachmann et al.

          • Frank Macskasy

            Perceptive, Mik…

  3. millsy 3

    Wheres the Tea Party on this?

    • jackal 3.1

      Hopefully on the plane on the way to the moon or sitting on the X where it’ll crash. Wouldn’t that be poetic justice.

    • Deadly_NZ 3.2

      They were the ones that were the holdouts in the last wee financial troubles the yanks had. ANd they are gonna be trouble unless they are weeded out and sent packing. Fat Chance!

    • john 3.3

      down the wormhole

  4. freedom 4

    aliens taking their tech back

    • I reckon it vwas a secret mission, crewed by US astronauts, to test a new engine. The engine drive opened up a time-warp, propelling the ship far into the future, to the year 3955AD.

      Cue: talking apes; wrecked Statue of Liberty half buried on the beach; and last remaining astronaut throwing a hissy-fit, screaming;

      “God damn you all to hell – you blew it up! You maniacs! Why did you vote Republican in ’12?!!?”

  5. hellonearthis 5

    Stuxnet virus?

  6. randal 6

    yeah and I wuz abducted by aliens once too…

  7. it might be on the way to the trojan ahead of us in the same orbit

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    It’s extraordinarily unlikely that the US military has been updating the news media on real test flight events. Come on, WHY would they even release a briefing on anything like this, whether it went good or bad.

    Wasn’t there a crappy Hollywood movie about an AI jet fighter which went rogue?

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1

      At a guess, I’d say they announce it when something like this happens because it has gone somewhere.

      So, if it’s landed in a some other countries territory they need to get it out that it’s an accident rather than a botched attack of some sort; that it is theirs in case somebody thinks it’s from their traditional enemy or what have you, and most importantly get in front of the story so that if it has crashed in China or wherever they will get less propaganda value out of it. It also gives them a public standpoint to say, erm, can we have the bits back please if there are any?

      But as someone said on twitter, I’d say the place to look will be Dr Evil’s secret volcano base.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Your rationale is all quite reasonable, but the US State Dept can get a cable to any foreign government within minutes. It doesn’t need to use the mass media. In terms of a propaganda win, admitting that your brand new toy has gone AWOL is not that great propaganda. Still not sure, really.

        • Pascal's bookie

          I’m thinking that if they don’t know where it is then it changes the game quite a bit.

          In terms of a propaganda win, admitting that your brand new toy has gone AWOL is not that great propaganda.

          True. But better than if you send the cable out to half the world, and then China or Iran finds the damn thing on a mountain side somewhere and announces to the world that your brand new toy is in their back yard and that you are trying to hide from your own people how shit it is.

          At least if you announce it first, you’ve set the scene.

    • Deadly_NZ 8.2

      Yep but it must have been programmed by the NACTS because it was supposed to do one thing, and went and did the opposite,. It was called funnily enough S.T.E.A.L.T.H.

  9. The story now is that it crashed in the sea:

    “More than nine minutes of data was collected before an anomaly caused loss of signal,’’ it said. “Initial indications are that the aircraft impacted the Pacific Ocean along the planned flight path.’’

    The HTV-2 is designed to be launched to the edge of space, separate from its booster, and maneuver through the atmosphere at 13,000 miles per hour before intentionally crashing into the ocean.

    That last sentence is confusing because a spokseman then says that failures are to be expected at this stage of development.

  10. Reality Bytes 10

    It’d be a bit of a bastard if that thing went off course and obliterated your fishing/whatever boat. Considering how it’s failed, and the speed (and therefore envelope of potential crash sites), how can they even be close to guaranteeing where the damn thing will splashdown??

    I find it interesting that they said they can only simulate upto mach 15, and this thing moves at mach 20+!!! That’s over 5 kilometers per second!!!

    Even if the thing does what it says on the label repeatedly and passes tests like this, who’s to say when actually deployed it doesn’t stuff up, and tough shit when a bolt from the blue crammed with a few tons of explosives on-board smashes down into your community and takes you & several other unfortunate buggers out.

    • Pascal's bookie 10.1

      yeah. It’s hard out stuff eh.

      • Reality Bytes 10.1.1

        The technology is remarkable, we just need it to be supplying emergency humanitarian / aid missions, where time is of the utter essence – instead of blowing up other human beings.

        Then when an unfortunate ultra-sonic accident occurs it is offset by the good purpose the vehicle achieves. Just like how people are unfortunately killed by ambulances.

        Why not scale up the cargo volume… So when some countries/refugees have emergency medical supplies/water/nutrition needs to avoid suffering and death…

        …BLAM there in under 1hr at mach 20, sending what you need.

        …Dropping off supplies and saving lives!

        That’s how technology like this should be used. Not for killing other humans.

        • felix

          “The technology is remarkable, we just need it to be supplying emergency humanitarian / aid missions, where time is of the utter essence – instead of blowing up other human beings.”



  11. hoom 11

    Hi there, long time lurker first time poster.

    This is **not** a ‘space-plane’.

    FALCON (Force Application and Launch from Continental United States) project is openly a first-strike/assassination missile program.

    Its about being able to blow up political figures even in deep bunkers anywhere on the planet within a couple of hours without the possibility of allies refusing basing/airspace transit or the public getting upset about use of nukes.

    • r0b 11.1

      Thanks for the clarification – depressing as it was….

    • Vicky32 11.2

      Its about being able to blow up political figures even in deep bunkers anywhere on the planet within a couple of hours without the possibility of allies refusing basing/airspace transit or the public getting upset about use of nukes.

      I’d rather gathered that from Al Jazeera which is why I favour the idea that it went nuts a la Hal 9000, and went AWOL..

  12. burt 12

    I think I just saw it refueling at the local gas station !

    • Wrong burt, the friggin thing has just landed on my sofa. The cat has jumped on it and my dog is brutally attacking it. Even the goldfish has jumped from the tank into the action.
      Shall I ring the space police or the lost in space Nobama?

      (DPF- 100000000000000 demerits.Life time ban.)

      • burt 12.1.1

        Yes yes D4J, apparently there is plenty of high octane fuel at your place !

      • The Voice of Reason 12.1.2

        Funniest comment of the week, D4J, if just for the demerits!
        Hate to burst anyone’s bubble but this is how test flights work. The first few crap out over the ocean, then you put a pilot in and give it a spin with manual control when you think it’s stable. It’s pretty much the formula Richard Pierce used, with a paddock standing in for the ocean. This is the second test. The first one gave usable data for a few minutes, then died.
        It’s going at 20 times mach. That is, 30 times faster than most commercial airliners. At that speed a stray fart will knock the vehicle off course and turn into a metallic smear in the sky in seconds. As for the assassination theory … rolls eyes, shakes head, leaves room.

        • rosy

          Trouble is that is the last of the 2 test planes. The program is now considered for closure . How many billions do you reckon for a fail like that?

          • Colonial Viper

            We were told that the mission was a fail and that the programme may be closed.

            Not sure what either or those propositions might have to do with actual reality though.

  13. Jenny 13

    USA! USA!

    Great stuff. Just imagine.

    The US has just discovered their enemy. You know, the one they can’t wait to nuke. So they dispatch their doughty nuclear armed hypersonic dreadnought to pour nuclear fire on the guilty enemy population.

    Only to find that shortly after take off, their automated craft has “gone missing” in hypersonic space, due to reappear at any possible point on the planet’s surface, within the next 60 minutes!

    Way to go Uncle Sam.

    And what was the cost again?

    • Reality Bytes 13.1

      Pretty sure they have had ICBMs have been able to hit anywhere on the globe/ruin the planet since the 50s or so.

      Likewise to a similar degree; Russia, China, UK, France etc etc and so on and so forth. All these nations and others that have mastered the ability to deploy nukes and or trigger ww3.

  14. vto 14

    What propels this thing?

    I would have thought that no amount of combustion would so propel, so what and which forces pull this thing along? Perhaps gravity, like a slingshot effect? Or magnetic forces of the planet?

    Serious question. Always wondered when mankind would be able to harness such other forces. Perhaps the time has come …….

    • The Voice of Reason 14.1

      You’ve answered yourself, VTO. A rocket takes it to the edge of space and then it separates and glides down like a returning space shuttle. There are engines on board, but they’re relatively small thrusters for directional guidance rather than thrust.
      The original concept was military and very much a weapons delivery concept, which is the main difference between it and the space shuttles, which are reusable. The main advantage over ICBM’s is speed, which means both a quick strike and little chance of an enemy’s ‘star wars’ defensive capabilities shooting it down.

  15. By the way, I’m thing that the “Falcon V2” looks more like Colonel Taylor’s ship…

  16. joe90 17

    When I heard that they’d lost it I wondered if Wen Jiabao could be doing an uncle Joe and indulging in a little reverse engineering.

  17. gnomic 18

    Am I missing something here? Isn’t this COMPLETELY INSANE? Even by the bizarre standards of the people who wear funny hats, aka the military. Can I haz another planet now please, free of these weirdos? OBL is dead guys. Shouldn’t you be concentrating on repressing the urban chav insurgencies? Not that you don’t already have contingency plans for that. Oh well. I guess it doesn’t matter. We are all so doooomed already.

  18. Maybe the Chinese have hacked their computers, intercepted it and are rapidly cloning it in Nanjing?

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