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Hypersonic Vehicle Closer to Launch from 'World's Largest Airplane'

Stratolaunch is progressing on the manufacturing of the TA-2 and TA-3 vehicles.

Stratolaunch's Talon-A 1 (TA-1) is fueled with liquid oxygen prior to its maiden captive carry flight on Dec. 21, 2023.
Stratolaunch's Talon-A 1 (TA-1) is fueled with liquid oxygen prior to its maiden captive carry flight on Dec. 21, 2023.
Stratolaunch/Matt Hartman

Stratolaunch announced the completion of a captive carry flight with the first powered Talon-A hypersonic vehicle, TA-1. The flight was the twelfth for the company's launch platform Roc and the first in which the aircraft carried a Talon vehicle with live propellant as part of a buildup approach for Talon-A's first powered flight.

The flight lasted a total of three hours and 22 minutes and represented a significant step forward in the company's near-term goal of completing a powered flight with the Talon-A vehicle, TA-1. A primary objective was to evaluate Talon-A's propulsion system and the Talon environments while carrying live propellant. A second objective was to verify Roc and TA-1's telemetry systems, which provides the situational awareness to ensure all systems are ready for powered flight during the release sequence. 

"Talon-A's propulsion system supports a liquid-propellant rocket engine that provides the thrust needed for Talon-A to reach hypersonic speeds. While we have conducted several successful ground tests fueling and igniting the system, we needed to evaluate how the system performs in the flight environment prior to release," said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer for Stratolaunch. "Initial results from today's flight show that the system has performed as predicted, and we will determine our next steps pending the full data review of the test."

Concurrent to TA-1 testing, Stratolaunch is progressing on the manufacturing of the TA-2 and TA-3 vehicles, the first fully reusable vehicles in that Talon-A product line. In addition to meeting this key test milestone, the company also recently announced two flight contracts with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Navy's Multiservice Advanced Capability Test Bed (MACH-TB) program as a subcontractor to Leidos/Dynetics.  

"It's an exciting time for our team and customers as we grow closer to bringing our test service online. We're moving faster into the future of high-speed flight, and I'm proud of our team's tenacity to reach this point," said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer for Stratolaunch.

Stratolaunch's Roc launch platform and Talon-A 1 (TA-1) hypersonic testbed take off for their first integrated captive carry flight from Mojave Air and Space Port on Dec. 3, 2023.Stratolaunch's Roc launch platform and Talon-A 1 (TA-1) hypersonic testbed take off for their first integrated captive carry flight from Mojave Air and Space Port on Dec. 3, 2023.Stratolaunch/Kate Squires

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