US-based company Stratolaunch has successfully completed the second captive carry flight test with its Talon-A separation test vehicle, named TA-0.
This marks the ninth flight test conducted by Stratolaunch’s Roc carrier aircraft.
During the latest flight demonstration, the Roc platform achieved a new duration record of six hours and reached a maximum altitude of 22,500ft.
According to the company, this achievement signifies a major milestone in achieving its goals to complete the series of TA-0 separation tests in the near future.
Held on 13 January, the latest flight demonstration aimed to achieve two primary objectives, one of which was to carry out a flight outside of the local Mojave Desert area in California, US, for the first time.
The second objective was to evaluate the separation environment.
Prior to the release of the test vehicle from the aircraft, the data systems available onboard Roc and TA-0 also provided critical information related to aerodynamic loads to facilitate safe vehicle separation from Roc.
The latest test also allowed the flight team to prepare for the next separation test by practising ‘communication sequencing’ and ‘chase formation’.
The company will also conduct a flight data review to finalise the next steps on the test timeline.
Stratolaunch president and CEO Dr Zachary Krevor said: “Our amazing team is continuing to make progress on our test timeline, and it is through their hard work that we grow closer than ever to safe separation and our first hypersonic flight tests.
“The thorough evaluation of release conditions will provide data to reduce risks and ensure a clean and safe release of Talon-A during future tests.”
The maiden captive carry flight test with the TA-0 separation vehicle was conducted by Stratolaunch in October last year.