California-based aerospace company Stratolaunch has announced the latest successful test of its Roc aircraft, which launched a test version of the Talon-A hypersonic aircraft in flight. This is reported by Gizmodo.
During the test, the Roc flew off the coast of California over Vandenberg Air Force Base’s West Range and spent four hours and eight minutes in the air. At this point, Stratolaunch was testing telemetry between the aircraft and the air base, and the aircraft’s payload separation capability.
Roc launched TA-0, a test version of Stratolaunch’s Talon-A hypersonic aircraft, in flight. It has previously flown with the TA-0 version, but this is the first time the company has released this prototype. In late summer, Stratolaunch hopes to make the first hypersonic flight of another Talon-A test aircraft, called the TA-1.
Roc has returned to base and you’ll notice something missing from the center wing. We’re excited to announce we successfully completed separation of TA-0, bringing us closer than ever to hypersonic flight. Congrats to the team & thanks to the Western Range for their support! pic.twitter.com/8WfIuzufn3
— Stratolaunch (@Stratolaunch) May 13, 2023
“Today’s test was exceptional,” said Zachary Krevor, Stratolaunch CEO and president, in a press release. “It was exhilarating to see TA-0 release safely away from Roc, and I commend our team and partners. Our hardware and data collection systems performed as anticipated, and we now stand at the precipice of achieving hypersonic flight.”
The Roc has a twin fuselage and a wingspan of over 385 feet (117 meters), making it the largest aircraft in the world. The pylon that supports the Talon-A aircraft is approximately 14 feet (4.3 meters) long and weighs 8,000 pounds (3,630 kilograms).
The hypersonic aircraft attaches to a pylon on the Roc’s belly and then launches from the aircraft when it reaches an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,668 meters). By the way, hypersonic aircraft move at a speed of more than Mach 5, which is five times the speed of sound. Stratolaunch is positioning the Talon-A as an autonomous and reusable hypersonic aircraft capable of conducting scientific research.
We will remind that at the beginning of the year Stratolaunch Roc made a test flight, during which it set several records.