Stratolaunch says its mammoth carrier airplane rose to its highest altitude yet during its seventh flight test over California’s Mojave Desert.
The aerospace venture, which was established by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen more than a decade ago but is now owned by a private equity firm, reported a peak altitude of 27,000 feet during today’s test.
If all goes according to plan, the twin-fuselage Roc airplane could begin flying Stratolaunch’s Talon-A hypersonic test vehicles for captive-carry and separation testing as early as this year.
One of the prime objectives for today’s three-hour flight at the Mojave Air and Space Port was to gather data on the aerodynamic characteristics of the plane, including a pylon structure from which the rocket-powered Talon-A vehicles will be released and launched.
Roc’s seventh flight came a week after the sixth flight test, which couldn’t achieve all of its objectives.