Hypersonic aerospace company, Stratolaunch, has reached a major milestone in its pursuit of super-speed travel.
On May 13, 2023, Stratolaunch’s huge carrier aircraft, called Roc, successfully released the Talon-A separation test vehicle, TA-0.
Talon-A will eventually become the flight module that travels at supersonic speeds, possibly reaching Mach 5 to Mach 7.
The flight was the 11th for the company’s launch platform Roc, which stretches over a football field long, and the first time the separation of a test vehicle was achieved.
The flight, which lasted a total of four hours and eight minutes, performed risk reduction by demonstrating the Talon-A launch system can cleanly and safely separate hypersonic vehicles from Roc’s center-wing pylon.
The test also confirmed telemetry between the vehicles and Vandenberg Space Force Base’s communication assets, assuring that back-up telemetry data collection will occur during future hypersonic flight tests.
With this landmark test complete, the team will progress toward its first hypersonic flight of the TA-1 expendable testbed in late summer of 2023.
“The test was exceptional. It was exhilarating to see TA-0 release safely away from Roc, and I commend our team and partners. Our hardware and data collection systems performed as anticipated, and we now stand at the precipice of achieving hypersonic flight,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, CEO and president for Stratolaunch.
The Talon-O aircraft was not fitted with an engine for the test but according to Space.com it did complete a variety of gliding maneuvers, providing vital data before hitting the water.