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Tue, Jun 21, 2022

Stratolaunch Flight-Testing Program Pushes Forward

Lucky Seventh Test-Flight Gets Roc Out of a Hard Place

Stratolaunch—the Seattle-based aerospace concern providing high-speed flight-test services—has announced the completion of the seventh flight-test of Roc, the company’s aerial launch-vehicle and world’s largest flying aircraft.

In its latest Mojave test-flight, Roc remained aloft just over three-hours and reached an altitude of 27,000-feet—a new altitude record for the aircraft.

Following a less than perfect, 09 June, sixth flight that was cut short following atypical, inflight vibrations and the failure of a wing sensor, the seventh flight succeeded in expanding Roc's flight-envelope subsequent the addition of an eight-thousand pound, 14-foot pylon to the immense aircraft’s 95-foot, center wing-section.

Objectives of the seventh flight included:

  • Demonstration of increased maximum altitude capability.
  • Continued validation of the aircraft's general performance and handling characteristics with the addition of the pylon structure.
  • Continued validation of landing gear operations including door functionality, and alternate gear extension.

The pylon, which will be used to securely transport and release Stratolaunch’s hypersonic test-vehicles, includes a mechanism designed to lift subject vehicles from the ground and onto a staging platform.

Recently, the Stratolaunch team executed the first integration of Roc and the company’s TA-0 separation test vehicle, thereby implying captive carry and separation testing might commence later this year.

Stratolaunch is also working 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.

Stratolaunch Chief Executive Officer and President Dr. Zachary Krevor called the flight, “ … 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.” Dr. Krevor added, “ … 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."



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