The word hypersonic refers to speeds over 5 times the speed of sound (also known as “Mach 5”). A typical fighter plane flies at Mach 2, which is twice the speed of sound (around 1400 mph).
DARPA and the United States Military have been testing a prototype, called the Falcon HTV-2 (which stands for “Hypersonic Testing Vehicle”), which can travel at (or even past) Mach 5 (in excess of 3800 mph).
BADGING: Read this article from Lockheed Martin (one of the companies involved in the project). Write a paragraph explaining the complications of constructing an aircraft that can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or higher. Write a second paragraph explaining the benefits of an aircraft that can travel that fast: What would be the benefit of having that type of technology readily available? What can those vehicles do that other, slower vehicles cannot?