Stratolaunch has taken another step towards its goal of launching hypersonic vehicles by air. On Thursday, the company completed the second test flight of its carrier vehicle, which is currently known to be the world’s largest plane in wingspan. The 385-foot wingspan twin-fuselage launcher flew three hours and 14 minutes over the Mojave Desert at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Although it does not fly as high as it did (17,000 feet) during its first test flight a year ago, he flew 44 minutes longer than before.
According to Stratolaunch, the successful flight confirms the performance and capabilities of the aircraft, and it also validates the improvements made to the carrier aircraft since its previous flight. Dr Daniel R. Millman, chief technology officer of the company, said:
“Stratolaunch is advancing our country’s ability to be a global leader in the hypersonic market. Our flight today brings us even closer to our promise to provide the world’s first hypersonic flight test service.
The company has already started assembling a consumable version of its hypersonic vehicle, the Talon-A, which is expected to fly for the first time early next year. He’s also started assembling the reusable version of the Talon-A, which he plans to start testing in 2023. Stratolaunch’s goal is to be able to air-launch the reusable Talon-A from its carrier aircraft. The Mach 6-class hypersonic vehicle is expected to provide 60 seconds of hypersonic flight before reversing for an autonomous landing on a conventional runway.
As Space Note, Stratolaunch’s activities may be of interest to the US military, as hypersonic vehicles are good weapon delivery systems due to their maneuverability. Millman said the company is examining how it can help the Defense Department mitigate risk for much of its expensive flight tests. He added: “Our test bench has the ability to carry payloads. It has the ability to test materials. It has the ability to fly a variety of profiles that are of interest to people across the spectrum both offensively. and defensively in terms of hypersonic. “
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