Friday, March 1, 2024

Stratolaunch completes captive carry flight with Talon-A hypersonic vehicle

Stratolaunch has achieved a significant milestone by conducting a captive carry flight with the first powered Talon-A hypersonic vehicle, TA-1, under its Roc mother ship.

According to the company’s press release, this successful flight marks a momentous step towards the company’s objective of executing a powered flight with the Talon-A vehicle.

Stratolaunch, LLC recently announced the completion of this historic flight on December 4th, which marked the twelfth flight for their colossal launch platform, Roc. Notably, this flight represented the first instance of Roc (the largest plane ever flown) transporting a Talon vehicle equipped with live propellant, a vital aspect in preparing for the inaugural powered flight of Talon-A.

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Stratolaunch is working for the U.S. military on a target that will mimic hypersonic threats to support the development of new defensive capabilities, and which is expected to be a Talon-A derivative or at least utilize some of the same technology. This initiative aligns with the urgent need for innovative defensive strategies against emerging hypersonic threats.

Stratolaunch courtesy photo

The mission aimed to evaluate crucial aspects of Talon-A’s propulsion system and its performance within the flight environment while carrying live propellant. Simultaneously, it sought to verify the telemetry systems of both Roc and TA-1, essential for maintaining situational awareness during the release sequence and ensuring readiness for powered flight.

Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer for Stratolaunch, highlighted the significance of the flight in testing Talon-A’s propulsion system. “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,” Dr. Krevor explained. Initial data from the flight indicates that the system performed as anticipated, pending a comprehensive review of the test data.

Stratolaunch courtesy photo

Concurrently, Stratolaunch is advancing with the production of TA-2 and TA-3 vehicles, envisioned as the initial fully reusable units in the Talon-A product line. These developments align with the company’s commitment to driving forward the innovation and progress of hypersonic technology.

In addition to this remarkable achievement, Stratolaunch recently secured two flight contracts with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Navy’s Multiservice Advanced Capability Test Bed (MACH-TB) program, where it will serve as a subcontractor to Leidos/Dynetics.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

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