Stratolaunch's Roc completed its second Talon-A carrier flight on Jan. 13, 2023, during Roc's ninth flight and first flight outside the Mojave Desert test perimeter. The longest flight to date, this flight is intended to set the stage for Talon-A release testing, which the company plans to begin later this year.
A second flight of the hexarjet carrier...
And two! It was on January 13, 2023, that Stratolaunch's Roc remained in the air for six hours over the California Mojave Desert, which represents the longest flight made by the hexa-reactor aircraft to date. More precisely, it was the ninth test flight of the Roc (the carrier) and the second in which it carried Stratolaunch's Talon-A hypersonic test vehicle. These "captive transport" tests pave the way for the Talon-A drop tests, which the company plans to begin later this year.
... Beyond the "local Mojave"
So the Roc took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in southeastern California on Friday morning, January 13, and returned to land some six hours later. The aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 22,500 feet (6,860 meters). Until then, the aircraft had barely or not at all exceeded the Mojave Desert area, which represents an area of 40,000 km2. This flight was not only the longest but also the first time the Roc ventured outside the Mojave regional perimeter. Roc's previous flight and eighth test, conducted on Oct. 28, 2022, lasted 5 hours and 6 minutes over the Mojave Desert and reached an altitude of 23,000 feet (7,000 meters).
Slightly off schedule
Initially, the company had announced it would conduct a series of captive transport flights "over the next several months, culminating in a separation test of the TA-0 vehicle over the Pacific Ocean in late 2022. Along with the flight tests, the company is progressing with system testing of its first hypersonic test vehicle, TA-1, and manufacturing the first and second fully reusable hypersonic vehicles, TA-2 and TA-3. The company plans to provide hypersonic flight services to government and commercial customers during 2023.
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