Until now, the company name Stratolaunch has been associated with the largest aircraft in the world, the company should also be known to Microsoft connoisseurs – because it was co-founded by Microsoft legend Paul Allen. Now Stratolaunch has shown a new project: Talon-A. In early May, the Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch, or Roc for short, successfully completed its fifth test flight. The Roc has a special feature, namely a wingspan of no less than 117 meters.
Superlatives are also on the agenda for the Talon-A (TA-0, TA-1, etc.) rocket planes, as the hypersonic fighter jet would reach a maximum speed of Mach 5 or even Mach 6 – i.e. five or six times the speed of sound. It is no coincidence that Roc and Talon are mentioned in one paragraph here because the two planes belong together: Roc will raise the hypersonic plane to the highest possible height, and from there Talon will separate and travel independently.
However, the first Talon test aircraft has not yet been powered, initially, only the separation of the two flight systems has to be tested. As Aviation Week reported (via Space), the first hypersonic flight has been reserved for the TA-1: “Upon completion of the TA-0 separation tests, the company will proceed to fly its first hypersonic test vehicle, TA-1,” said a Stratolaunch representative. “The team has also started production of a third vehicle, the TA-2, the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle.” Initially, the first “drop tests” were scheduled to take place in early 2022, but the full operational capability is currently expected for mid-to-late 2023.
However, the first joint flight of the Roc with the TA-0 attached should take place as early as this year. For example, the flight behavior of the coupled flight attendants is tested. What is all this for? Stratolaunch was originally created to launch satellites from aircraft into orbit, but hypersonic objects such as airplanes and missiles have now become the focus of the military. Stratolaunch is currently conducting research but will be sure to offer the results to both civilian and military interested parties.
Alice is a professional writer and editor at Research Snipers, she has a keen interest in technology and gadgets, She works as a junior news editor at Research Snipers.