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Suspected US hypersonic missile test launch from Cape Canaveral scrubbed

The U.S. Department of Defense scrubbed a test launch of an undisclosed missile out of Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station earlier this month.

Airspace closure warnings issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated launch activity scheduled for between March 2 and March 6, generating interest and speculation in the event, Florida Today reported (opens in new tab).

Marco Langbroek, a lecturer in optical space situational awareness at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, noted (opens in new tab) that the navigational warning drew a “forked” flight path over the north Atlantic, indicating that the mission was not a typical orbital launch activity but more likely a hypersonic missile test.

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While gaining attention, however, the test did not take place. The Office of the Secretary of Defense informed Florida Today that, “as a result of pre-flight checks, the test did not occur.”

“Delivering hypersonic weapons remains a top priority for the Department of Defense,” the statement continued. 

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The nature of the system to be tested was not disclosed, but apparent clues (opens in new tab) emerged on Twitter. The U.S. has been stepping up efforts to develop hypersonic weapons in the wake of apparent progress by both Russia and China in this field.

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