The 'Roc' launches the TA-1 hypersonic vehicle

Stratolaunch’s Talon-A hypersonic vehicle makes first powered flight

Test vehicle capable of reaching Mach 5 was air-launched by six-engine ‘Roc’ jet on March 9

Stratolaunch performed the first powered flight of Talon-A (TA-1), an unmanned hypersonic vehicle on Saturday, March 9.

The aircraft was launched into flight by the ‘Roc’, the California-based company’s massive two-fuselage, six-engine plane.

Stratolaunch stated that the flight took place over the Pacific Ocean, but did not have the specific altitude and speed shared by the company due to an agreement with its customers.

The company, however, said the vehicle reached speeds close to Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound).


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“Today was a great day for the Stratolaunch team. I am extremely proud of their perseverance to reach this point. The successful outcome of the test is a direct result of the team’s technical prowess and professionalism,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Oresident and CEO of Stratolaunch.

Talon-A TA-1 hypersonic vehicle (Stratolaunch)

The TA-1 prepares the ground for the launch of the TA-2, a reusable hypersonic vehicle that is expected to fly for the first time in 2024.

In addition to them, Stratolaunch is working on manufacturing the TA-3, which is expected to be launched by the ‘Spirit of Mojave’, a Boeing 747-400 acquired from the estate of the company Virgin Orbit.

Company created by Steve Allen

Stratolaunch was launched in 2010 by Steve Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft. The plan was to launch spacecraft using the ‘Roc’, an aircraft with the largest wingspan in history, at 117 meters.

Stratolaunch ‘Roc’ (Stratolaunch)

The plane’s design was made by Scaled Composites and uses two fuselages so that the payload is transported on the central wing.

After Allen’s death in 2018, the company began to have financial problems and ceased its activities only to resume them after the sale to private investors.

The new owners changed the business by exchanging launches into space for services for hypersonic research. Customers include the US Air Force (USAF).


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