The Phase II High Speed Flight Demonstration (HSFD) test flight of Japan's prototype space shuttle ended with the craft damaged after the recovery system did not work properly. The flight was held at the European Space Range (Esrange) in Sweden.
According to NASDA the flight went smoothly with data acquisition successfully performed until the parachute system and airbags system failed. The vehicle was lifted by a stratospheric balloon to an altitude of about 30km where it was released and accelerated in free fall up to transonic speeds to acquire the data.
Phase I tests flights concluded on November 16 with a successful test flight. Phase I goals were to verify the navigation technology the shuttle uses to detects its precise location, attitude and speed, and to accumulate autonomous flight technology so the vehicle can fly without human control.
Phase II goals include improving the estimation method for transonic aerodynamic characteristics and to verifying guidance and control design technology.
Damage to prototype is currently being assessed.