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Stratolaunch successfully flies its first hypersonic test vehicle

written by Newsdesk | March 11, 2024

Stratolaunch successfully flies its first hypersonic test vehicle
Credit: Stratolaunch/Matt Hartman

Stratolaunch, a leading innovator in aerospace technology, has marked a significant achievement with the successful powered flight of its Talon-A test vehicle, TA-1, on March 9, 2024. This event represents a major step forward in the United States’ efforts to develop the first privately funded, reusable hypersonic test capability.

The flight test of TA-1 was aimed at achieving several primary objectives including the safe air-launch of the vehicle, engine ignition, acceleration, a sustained climb in altitude, and a controlled descent into water.

Dr. Zachary Krevor, President and CEO of Stratolaunch, expressed his satisfaction with the day’s results, stating, “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.”

Despite confidentiality agreements preventing the disclosure of specific details about the altitude and speed achieved by TA-1 during its flight, Dr. Krevor revealed that the vehicle reached high supersonic speeds, approaching Mach 5. He highlighted the wealth of valuable data collected, which will benefit Stratolaunch’s customers, saying, “While I can’t share the specific altitude and speed TA-1 reached due to proprietary agreements with our customers, we are pleased to share that in addition to meeting all primary and customer objectives of the flight, we reached high supersonic speeds approaching Mach 5 and collected a great amount of data at an incredible value to our customers.”

The test flight was not only about achieving immediate goals but also about paving the way for future developments. Dr. Krevor elaborated on this point, noting, “Our goal with this flight was to continue our risk reduction approach for TA-2’s first reusable flight and be steadfast on our commitment of delivering maximum value to our customers. We are excited to review the data from today’s test and use it as we plan our next steps toward TA-2’s first flight later this year.”

In addition to the milestones reached with TA-1, Stratolaunch is progressing with the manufacturing of TA-3, the second fully reusable vehicle in the Talon-A product line. The company is also making modifications to the Spirit of Mojave, its additional launch platform, which is a modified Boeing 747-400, enabling continued advancements in its hypersonic testing capabilities.


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