The launch was conducted by Kratos Rocket Support Services under contract to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division Detachment at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico (NSWC PHD Det WS) in support of the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Research Laboratory (ARFL), headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
Hypersonic flight is a flight through the atmosphere at speeds above Mach 5.5, or more than five times the speed of sound. The successful launch boosted the research payload to a speed of over Mach 7, enabling scientists to collect fundamental data critical to the design and development of an engine capable of sustained hypersonic flight.
This flight was the second in a series of up to ten planned flight experiments under a joint research program between AFRL and the Australian Department of Defense, Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO). The research program, called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) is investigating the fundamental science of hypersonics technology and its potential for next-generation aeronautical propulsion systems.