US hypersonic space weapon goes up in smoke

26 Aug 2014144 Views

A futuristic space weapon developed by the US Army capable of hitting any target on Earth within an hour was destroyed just seconds after it was test-fired yesterday.

The hypersonic space weapon was destroyed when it was fired from a US military installation in Alaska at 4am local time yesterday.

While officials are trying to determine the cause of the problem that forced the weapon’s destruction it is understood debris fell within the spaceport of Kodiak, off Alaska’s southern coast.

The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon – Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 – is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project that has been in testing for the last five years.

DARPA is the same US test lab that sowed the seeds of the internet as we know it today, originally envisioning a communications network that would survive a nuclear war.

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The hypersonic weapon that blew up yesterday had been developed by Sandia National Laboratory and the US Army as part of the Pentagon’s Conventional Prompt Global Strike technology development programme.

In a statement, the Pentagon said: “Shortly after 4 a.m. EDT, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, as part of the Defense Department’s Conventional Prompt Global Strike technology development program, conducted a flight test of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska.

“Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after lift-off to ensure public safety. There were no injuries to any personnel.

“Program officials are conducting an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the flight anomaly,” the Pentagon said.

Pentagon image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years

editorial@siliconrepublic.com