New-York to Los Angeles in 12 minutes… It would have been a record-breaker, had it worked:

The DARPA and USAF FALCON project might give anybody the thrill of speed as this « aerospacecraft » has been designed to reach Mach 20 i.e. around 20,000 km/h; 5.6 km/s; 10,800 knots; or 12,400 mph depending on the air temperature, and the altitude which might be above at least FL900!

DARPA USAF FALCON HTV-2 hypersonic aerospacecraft - 22 April 2011
DARPA HTV-2 - 22 April 2011 ---- Photo: DARPA, US Federal Government

Unfortunately, the project seems to encounter major difficulties as the last test which unfolded on August 11, 2011 failed again. The previous one – also on an HTV2 – had failed in April. Click on the right-hand side picture to get further information on the first test. The Blackswift (HTV-3X)  had been designed by ATK; Boeing; Lockheed Martin; and Skunk Works to provided a strategic strike anywhere in the world within an hour. It was cancelled due to a lack of funds (see the HTV-3 shown in the following video):



  • DARPA stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • FALCON stands for Force Application and Launch from CONtinental United States
  • FL stands for Flight Level (FL x 100ft = altitude)
  • HTV stands for Hypersonic Test Vehicle or Hypersonic Technology Vehicle
  • RCS means here in the videos: Reaction Control System (and not Radar Cross Section)

Click on the picture below, and then on the blue arrows to watch the different phases of light:

Flight Overview slide, MACH-20 DARPA AEROSPACECRAFT
Flight Overview slide - Interactive picture: DARPA, U.S. Federal Government


Enigma of Yuri Gagarin’s death on March 27 – 43 years ago

The cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – the 1st man to have travelled into outer space on his Vostok 1 spacecraft on April 12, 1961 – died on March 27 1968. However, the precise cause of the jet crash remains uncertain.

Colonel Gagarin and his instructor Vladimir Seryogin (as Gagarin, director of the Star City, had to obtain his fighter pilot rating again), flew a MiG-15 Midget that day, and they should not have kept the fuel tanks under their jet. As the spin turned into a deadly crash, it has been suggested since 1986 that the afterburner turbulence of a Sukhoi Su-11 Fishpot-C interceptor aircraft could have caused the MiG-15 to go out of control.

The MiG-15 had first been designed to intercept USAF nuclear-capable B-29s.

Some governmental documents were declassified in 2003. They revealed that in addition to the official investigations, the KGB tried to advance a new line of inquiry. Since then, it has been deemed that the accident could not be due to any conspiracy theory. Though little is certain about this mistery, you can click on the frame below to read further information:

What killed Yury Gagarin: Soviet report’s findings

09:30 27/03/2011 On March 27, 1968, news of a terrible tragedy broke: Yury Gagarin, first man into space, had been killed in a plane crash. Although experts continue to debate what caused the crash, they all agree that Gagarin’s death was quite bizarre.>>


NASA relics collection – 200 historic spacesuits !