Stratolaunch — the air-launch company founded by the late Seattle software billionaire Paul Allen — put a test version of its hypersonic vehicle through its first in-the-air trial today.
The Talon-A separation test vehicle, known as TA-0, stayed firmly attached to its Roc carrier airplane throughout today’s five-hour outing, which began and ended at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port. This was Roc’s eighth flight test, but the first to have a payload attached to a wing pylon centered between its twin fuselages. Roc rates as the world’s largest airplane, with a wingspan of 385 feet.
This time, Stratolaunch focused on measuring the aerodynamic loads on the Talon-A test vehicle while mated to Roc, in preparation for future tests that would involve releasing a functional, rocket-equipped Talon-A for hypersonic flight.
Roc reached a maximum altitude of 23,000 feet and a speed of 185 knots (213 mph) during the flight test, Stratolaunch CEO Zachary Krevor said.