The aerospace venture established by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced a contract with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to conduct a flight test of the company’s hypersonic test vehicle early next year.
Stratolaunch and AFRL will use the company’s twin-fuselage “Roc” airplane to air-launch the company’s first Talon-A hypersonic test vehicle.
“Launched from the Roc aircraft, Talon-A is a rocket-powered, autonomous testbed with the ability to fly a variety of hypersonic flight profiles while carrying customized payload experiments on board,” Stratolaunch said, adding the next generation of Talon-A vehicles will be capable of reusable hypersonic flight.
“We’re pleased that AFRL has chosen to support the flight of our first hypersonic vehicle, and we have enjoyed working with the esteemed team.
“We look forward to providing flight test services to AFRL and other customers in the near future,” Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer for Stratolaunch, wrote in a statement.
Last month, we noted the Roc was being prepared for an upcoming test flight that was reported to include the separation drop-test of an unmanned Talon-A hypersonic mock-up that is being referred to as “Talon-0.”
Here’s the latest footage of the hypersonic test vehicle mounted in the center of the twin-fuselage plane.
Stratolaunch was initially envisioned as a satellite midair launcher. But the massive plane has had a new mission in the last several years: become a leader in sending hypersonic vehicles aloft. It seems like the first big test will occur in the first quarter of 2023.