Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Launch Successful

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Image of the HTV-2 hypersonic glider which failed an August test flight.

The United States military launched a test flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) on November 17. The AHW launched by rocket, glided through the upper atmosphere above Mach 5, before successfully hitting the intended target.

The AHW is part of the US military’s “Prompt Global Strike” program designed to allow a targeted strike to be delivered anywhere in the world within one hour. The AHW replaces the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) hypersonic glider which failed an August test flight.

Unlike a ballistic missile, the AHW glides at a relatively flat trajectory through the upper atmosphere instead of arcing into space. This technology has promise for use as a reentry mechanism for space flights.

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, I now enjoy reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. I lead a fantastic all-volunteer staff as Managing Editor of Space Safety Magazine and keep my pencil sharp as Proposal & Publication Manager for INNOVIM, a NASA/NOAA contractor. In my spare time, you’ll find me advocating for greater appreciation of the International Space Station, supporting International Space University projects, and every so often, reading a book.

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