Stratolaunch carrier aircraft 'Roc' completes test

March 2, 2022
The primary mission objective was to fully retract and extend the aircraft's landing gear for the first time.

MOJAVE, Calif., - Stratolaunch LLC have announced the successful completion of its fourth flight test of the carrier aircraft, known as "Roc". The aircraft has a 385 ft. wingspan, which is the largest in the world. The aircraft flew for 1 hour, 43 minutes over the Mojave Desert and reached an altitude of 15,000 feet (4572 m). As part of this latest flight, pilots further prepared the carrier aircraft to support launches of its upcoming hypersonic testbed vehicle, Talon-A.

Launched from the Roc carrier aircraft, Talon-A vehicles are rocket-powered, autonomous, reusable testbeds carrying customizable payloads at speeds above Mach 5. This capability enables routine access to the hypersonic flight environment, which is critical for scientific research, technological development, and component demonstration.  Measuring 28 feet long with an 11.3-foot delta wing, the Talon A can recover for an autonomous horizontal landing and take off horizontally under its own power.

The test allowed for the continued evaluation of the aircraft's performance and handling characteristics as well as a validation of full landing gear operations.

In addition to testing the carrier aircraft, the team continues to make progress on system integration of two Talon-A test vehicles, TA-0 and TA-1. The team has also started fabrication of a third vehicle, TA-2, the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle. The company anticipates beginning hypersonic flight testing in 2022 and delivering services to government and commercial customers in 2023.

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