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Connecting Skies Bridging Continents


The Missile DefenCe Agency (MDA) has successfully launched a Hypersonic Testbed (HTB) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This marks a significant advancement in experimental hypersonic testing capabilities.

On June 12, the Kratos-built HTB-1 was propelled into the skies, showcasing the Erinyes flyer, a hypersonic vehicle first unveiled by Kratos two years ago. The vehicle achieved hypersonic speeds, launched by a three-stage Oriole-Terrier-Terrier rocket stack.

The flight was closely monitored by the MDA’s Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, which has been in low Earth orbit since mid-February. This satellite serves as an experimental platform, tracking the faint signatures of hypersonic vehicles against the warm background of Earth.

“HTB-1 represents a significant step forward in hypersonic testing capability,” said Lt. Gen. Heath Collins, MDA director. The data collected from this flight will be shared with various partners as part of the MDA’s broader initiative to develop new defences against maneuvering hypersonic weapons.

The success of HTB-1 is part of a larger competition among defence contractors to support the MDA and other Defence Department agencies in suborbital hypersonic launches. Kratos Defense, which has been at the forefront of this technology, hinted at further tests this year involving the Zeus rocket and additional hypersonic vehicles like Erinyes and Dark Fury, all designed to bolster ballistic missile defence systems.

This launch not only underscores the advancements in hypersonic technology but also highlights the collaborative efforts in enhancing national defence capabilities through innovative testing platforms.

For ongoing updates on hypersonic advancements and defence technology, stay tuned to our future editions.

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