Stratolaunch performed on Wednesday the 5th flight of the Roc, currently the largest aircraft in the world. The massive six-engine, two-fuselage plane took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port to remain in the air for nearly 5 hours.
The test debuted a new pylon installed on the central wing of the aircraft and which will be used to transport the Talon-A hypersonic unmanned vehicles.
“The hardware is comprised of a mini-wing and that is constructed with aluminum and carbon fiber skins”, explained the company.
The Talon A is a rocket-propelled, air-launched vehicle. It will be used as a testbed for technologies and equipment needed for hypersonic flights above Mach 5.
Stratolaunch is building two of these vehicles in addition to the TA-2, a fully reusable variant. The company’s goal is to start commercial service of the launch pad in 2023.
New largest flying aircraft in the world
The Roc, a nickname that was made official by the company, inherited the title of largest flying aircraft in the world after the destruction of the Antonov An-225 in Ukraine by invading Russian forces.
Although it broke the all-time record for the largest wing span aircraft (385ft/117m), the Model 351 (designer Scaled Composites) has a maximum take-off weight of 590 tons, 50 tons less than the Mriya.