Stratolaunch Talon-A separation article.
Stratolaunch LLC has successfully completed the second flight of the world's largest aircraft by wingspan. The 385 ft wingspan aircraft flew for three hours, 14 minutes over the Mojave Desert and reached an altitude of 14,000 feet (4,267.2 m). As part of this latest flight, pilots further prepared the carrier aircraft to support launches of its upcoming hypersonic testbed vehicle, Talon-A. The tests provided confirmation of the aircraft's performance and handling characteristics, continued demonstration of the aircraft's capability, including its payload capacity, ands validation of the enhancements added to the carrier aircraft, including pressurisation, gear doors, and robustness to the safety systems.
"Stratolaunch is advancing our nation's ability to be a worldwide leader in the hypersonic market," says Dr. Daniel R. Millman, Chief Technology Officer of Stratolaunch. "Our flight today gets us another step closer to our promise of delivering the world's premier hypersonic flight test service."
Talon-A is a fully reusable, autonomous, liquid rocket-powered Mach 6-class hypersonic vehicle with a length of 28 feet (8.5 m), wingspan of 14 feet (4.3 m), and a launch weight of approximately 6,500 pounds (2,948 kg). The vehicle will provide over 60 seconds of hypersonic flight test conditions and glide back for an autonomous landing on a conventional runway.
The company's hypersonic program, announced last year, has seen significant progress in high-speed vehicle manufacturing, as well as the development of a variant of the Hadley liquid rocket engine, which is being designed by Ursa Major Technologies specifically for the Talon-A testbed vehicle.
Stratolaunch is currently assembling both a Talon-A Separation Test Article, which will be the first Talon-A vehicle carried and released by the carrier aircraft and as well as the first rocket-powered Talon-A vehicle. On display for attendees was a Talon-A upper skin, fabricated from Out-of-Autoclave Bismaleimide (BMI) carbon composite materials and slated to be a component of the second hypersonic vehicle. Also highlighted was a Hadley engine, an oxidizer rich staged combustion engine in the 5,000-lbf thrust class, which is ready to be installed and tested in Stratolaunch's under-construction propulsion test facility.
"We're focused on safely and securely releasing operational hypersonic vehicles from our carrier aircraft," says Dr. Zachary Krevor, chief operating officer of Stratolaunch. "The test flight today provided valuable insights and data to help us continue this journey."
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