The world’s largest Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch aircraft, better known as the Stratolaunch Roc, has made another, already the ninth test flight, during which it set several records.
The flight lasted 6 hours and Stratolaunch Roc flew for the first time outside the Mojave Desert, California. During the flight, tests were carried out of the Stratolaunch Talon-A supersonic aircraft prototype, which, in turn, is a transitional stage for the creation of a full-fledged Talon-Z space shuttle, which will be able to deliver cargo and passengers to Earth orbit. The predicted speed of the Talon-A, which will be launched from the Stratolaunch Roc, is Mach 5-7, that is, 6,100-8,600 km/h.
Today we’re conducting our ninth flight test of Roc and second captive carry of the Talon-A separation test vehicle, TA-0. Today’s test objectives will be verifying our onboard data systems and practicing the sequence for our upcoming separation test. #LetsRoc #Flighttest #Mojave pic.twitter.com/ONvclLD9xu
— Stratolaunch (@Stratolaunch) January 13, 2023
We will remind you that the Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch was the largest aircraft in terms of wingspan (117 m) back in the days of the Mriya. Assembled from components of several Boeing 747-400s, it has two fuselages and 6 turbofan engines Pratt & Whitney PW4056 (the same used by almost all major aircraft in the world). The plane got its name in honor of the mythological bird Roc, which could apparently carry an entire elephant.
Stratolaunch Systems was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and aircraft designer and founder Scaled Composites by Bert Rutan. After the death of Paul Allen in 2018, the company changed owners and is now under the care of one of the world’s largest investment funds, Cerberus Capital Management.
The video below is of the previous, eighth test flight of the Stratolaunch Roc.