On Thursday, April 29, Stratolaunch announced that it had completed the second test flight of the Talon-A, known to be the largest aircraft in the world today.
This aircraft would be a twin-fuselage launcher, with a wingspan of 117 meters and which flew for three hours and 14 minutes over the Mojave Desert, at an altitude of over 4,200 meters.
The plane flew longer than in the first test
As a reminder, the plane’s first flight took place in 2020, the plane flew at a higher attitude, at about 5,100 meters, but lasted 44 minutes shorter than this second test. Stratolaunch is thus pleased to have taken a new step towards achieving its goal of launching hypersonic vehicles into the air.
Dr. Daniel R.Millman, Chief Technology Officer of Stratolaunch, said the company “ 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 Talon-A could be used to deliver weapons
Apparently, the commercial version of Talon-A should start flying from 2022. The company is also looking at a reusable version of the Talon-A that it will start testing in 2023. This Mach 6-class hypersonic vehicle should thus be able to provide 60 seconds of hypersonic flight before turning back to land on a conventional runway autonomously.
According to Space, the US military could be interested in the activities of Stratolaunch because these planes would be useful to deliver weapons and to mitigate the costs of the Department of Defense.