Stratolaunch’s hypersonic vehicle launched for the first time

Stratolaunch's Talon
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The company did not say exactly what speed the vehicle accelerated to, but said it was close to Mach 5. Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founders Paul Allen and Burt Rutan to provide customers with a service for high-speed testing of aircraft.

To this end, the company built the Roc cargo plane in partnership with Scaled Composites, which is known for its huge size: the plane is 117 metres wide, equipped with six Boeing 747 engines and has a carrying capacity of 226 796 kg. The twin-aisle aircraft is the largest wingspan aircraft currently in service and has already taken off 14 times in various tests.

On the most recent occasion, Roc delivered the Talon-1 model, the second test vehicle in Stratolaunch’s hypersonic programme and, unlike the Talon-0, already equipped with an engine. With the Talons, the company has been testing Roc’s capability to transport and launch hypersonic vehicles, while at the same time preparing the ground for the Talon-2 platform, which is already planned to be a reusable hypersonic vehicle.

Talon-1 is not yet reusable, so at the end of the test it landed in the Pacific Ocean. Stratolaunch has published a video of the test, but did not give any details about the Talon’s performance, except to say that the vehicle’s speed was close to Mach 5, i.e. it accelerated to almost hypersonic speed. The first flight of Talon-2 could take place later this year.

Stratolaunch is developing the vehicle for non-military purposes, but hypersonic vehicle testing is also a useful option for the defence forces, and the Talon is included in the Mach-TB (Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonic Test Bed) programme, which aims to promote the development of hypersonic technology and build the necessary infrastructure.


Source: prnewswire.com

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