US-based aerospace company Stratolaunch has completed the sixth flight test of its Roc carrier aircraft over the Mojave Desert.
During the flight test, the aircraft flew for around one hour and 26 minutes and reached an altitude of 15,000ft.
This flight test was intended to continue the flight expansion envelope of the Roc carrier aircraft, with a recently added pylon on the aircraft’s centre wing.
Pylon consists of a mini-wing and an adapter and can be used for carrying and releasing reusable, rocket-powered Talon-A hypersonic vehicles safely.
Stratolaunch CEO and president Dr Zachary Krevor said: “Today’s flight builds on previous successful flights and hardware enhancements.
“We will leverage this flight experience as we complete integrated testing in the coming months and prepare for Talon-A test flights.”
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At the time of the demonstration, the team faced certain consequences that led them to realise that it would not be able to complete all the test objectives and so the focus was shifted to completing other targets.
Other targets included the evaluation of the aircraft’s handling characteristics, its general performance, the pylon hardware and its landing gear operations, involving alternate gear extension and door functionalities.
Recently, Stratolaunch’s team has also integrated the Roc aircraft with a TA-0 separation test vehicle for the first time, hinting toward a captive carry and separation test expected to happen later this year.
Furthermore, the team is making continuous progress in terms of system integration for its first hypersonic flight test vehicle TA-1, along with the third vehicle TA-2’s fabrication. TA-2 is the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle.
Delivery of hypersonic flight services for commercial and government use is expected by next year.
In January 2022, Stratolaunch completed the third flight test for the Roc aircraft.