Hypersonic Plane Successfully Completes Test Flight

With the first powered flight of its TA-1 test vehicle under its belt, Stratolaunch has accomplished its mission. In terms of creating the nation’s first privately financed, reusable hypersonic test capability, the business views this event as a significant milestone.

Stratolaunch had multiple primary goals for the March 9 test. Among these were lowering the TA-1 from the Roc air-launch aircraft, starting the engine, increasing speed, and keeping the ascent steady. The last leg of the flight involved a controlled water landing.

The ROC, a massive twin-fuselage plane, is the largest operating aircraft in the world.

In the Mojave Desert, north of Los Angeles, Stratolaunch is a privately held aerospace corporation founded in 2011.

According to the company’s enthusiastic announcement, talon-A, or TA-1, aircraft were launched last week.

Due to contractual responsibilities with consumers, the firm elected not to release precise details regarding altitude and speed, albeit stating that the flight accomplished its goals. Achieving supersonic speeds close to Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound), the TA-1 collected vital data, according to Dr. Zachary Krevor, a 20-year aerospace veteran and the company’s president.

A video recently showed the TA-1 taking to the skies for the first time after being launched from the remarkable 385-foot-wide aircraft.

A plane moving at Mach 5, around 3,836 mph, may take just one hour to cover the distance from London to New York. According to the company’s press statement, the successful test marks a significant step in developing hypersonic technology.

According to Dr. Krevor, the test’s goals are a controlled water landing, engine starting, acceleration, sustained ascent in altitude, and a safe air-launch release of the TA-1 vehicle.

The late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, established Stratolaunch in 2011 as an innovative air-launch company. During that time, Allen hoped to use the remarkable Roc carrier concept to launch spacecraft and satellites into orbit from great heights. SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, whose ownership was subsequently taken over by Northrop Grumman, were part of the early negotiations.

In addition to their current endeavors, the California-based aerospace firm is also starting improvements on the Spirit of Mojave, an additional air-launch platform. This specific platform, a modified Boeing 747-400, was obtained in 2023 at Virgin Orbit’s bankruptcy liquidation sale.