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£189m Hypersonic aircraft gets lost

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We'd do a lot to get our mitts on a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels, but unfortunately unless we want to take out a second mortgage or head over to the US, it's surprisingly hard to get hold of the salty/sweet snack here. So imagine our joy when we heard that in the future, flying from London to New York could take a mere 17 minutes. Then again, that was before the mission to launch the test aircraft was fluffed.

The unmanned £189million ($300m) Falcon HTV-2 vehicle took its maiden voyage in April and was set for its second attempt in a bid to reach speeds of up to 13,000 miles per hour - Mach 20 (20 times the speed of sound).

But, despite hopes that this time the aircraft would manage to go beyond the previous record of a 9-minute flight, the plan didn't go quite to, er, plan.

After the aircraft separated from the Minotaur IV Light rocket, which carried it up to the edge of space before beginning its return to Earth, it got lost. Although the official line was that 20 minutes into the journey the aircraft went silent during the gliding stage of the test flight.

Too soon for 'Dude where's my rocket?' jokes?

Images: Rex

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