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Stratolaunch progresses with second successful captive carry flight of hypersonic vehicle

written by Newsdesk | February 26, 2024

Stratolaunch progresses with second successful captive carry flight of hypersonic vehicle

In a significant stride towards advancing hypersonic flight technology, Stratolaunch has successfully carried out its second captive carry flight featuring the TA-1, the first powered Talon-A hypersonic vehicle. This landmark event, which took place in Mojave, California, marks not only the thirteenth flight of Stratolaunch’s launch platform, Roc, but also its second instance of transporting a Talon vehicle equipped with live propellant. Notably, this was TA-1’s inaugural operation within the Vandenberg Western Range, orchestrated as part of preparation stages for the much-anticipated first powered flight of a Talon-A vehicle.

The flight, lasting an impressive 4 hours and 29 minutes, aligns with Stratolaunch’s current objective of executing a powered flight leveraging the Talon-A vehicle, TA-1. Among the key goals of this mission was the evaluation of Talon-A’s propulsion system and its performance in flight conditions carrying live propellant. Additionally, the flight served to test the compatibility and performance of Roc and TA-1’s telemetry systems in conjunction with range communication assets. Such assessments are crucial for achieving the situational awareness necessary to guarantee readiness for powered flight during the release sequence.

Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer and President of Stratolaunch, reflected on the achievement, “We collected valuable data during our first captive carry of TA-1 in December 2023, particularly regarding propellant management of TA-1’s feed system,” he detailed. Krevor further elucidated, “Our goal with this flight was to continue our risk reduction approach for TA-1’s first powered flight and be steadfast on our commitment of delivering maximum value to our customers when the first powered flight occurs.”

In light of the mission’s initial outcomes, there appears to be optimism surrounding the health and performance of each vehicle involved in the test. “Initial results of today’s flight look positive for each vehicle’s health and performance, and we will complete a comprehensive review of the test data to determine our next steps toward powered flight,” shared Krevor, signaling a forward-looking stance towards achieving powered flight with TA-1. The successful completion of this second captive carry flight indicates significant progress in Stratolaunch’s pursuit of hypersonic flight capabilities and underscores the company’s dedication to refining its technology for future applications.


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