Stratolaunch has announced the completion of its seventh flight test of Roc, the world’s largest flying aircraft.

The aircraft – designed to carry hypersonic vehicles into the air – flew for 3 hours and 1 minute over the Mojave Desert and reached an altitude of 27,000 feet, a new altitude record for the aircraft.

The seventh flight focused on continuing Roc’s flight envelope expansion with the recent addition of the pylon on the aircraft’s centre wing.

Test objectives

Test objectives included a demonstration of the increased maximum altitude capability, and continued validation of the aircraft’s general performance and handling characteristics, with the addition of the recently installed pylon hardware.

The flight also allowed Stratolaunch engineers to continue validating the aircraft’s landing gear operations including door functionality, and alternate gear extension.

Hypersonic conditions

“Today’s flight is a success story of the Stratolaunch team’s ability to increase operational tempo to the pace desired by our customers for performing frequent hypersonic flight test,” said Zachary Krevor, Stratolaunch Chief Executive Officer and President.

“Furthermore, the team reached a new altitude record of 27,000 feet, thereby demonstrating the aircraft performance needed for our Talon hypersonic vehicle to reach its wide design range of hypersonic conditions.”

2023 launch

The Stratolaunch team recently integrated the TA-0 separation test vehicle with the carrier aircraft for the first time.

The company is also making progress on system integration of its first hypersonic flight test vehicle, TA-1 and on the fabrication of a third vehicle, TA-2, the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle. Stratolaunch anticipates delivering hypersonic flight services to government and commercial customers in 2023.

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