Stratolaunch present the first hypersonic drone for high-altitude flights

Stratolaunch, a California aerospace business, is prepared to test a hypersonic aircraft that will be launched from a massive carrier aircraft, following the fifth test flight of the biggest Model 351 (Roc) aircraft ever built.

This gadget, known as Talon-A, was initially discussed in the year 2020. The hypersonic plane will be launched from a Model 351 plane at a height of 10 kilometers, according to Stratolaunch's plan. On May 26, Talon-A TA-0, a prototype version of the program, was unveiled.

The TA-0 is a test drone with an aluminum body and a carbon fiber covering, rather than a complete version of the Talon-A with a rocket engine. The gadget will be attached to the carrier aircraft's central wing and will be used to test aerodynamics and systems. The initial model will not even have an engine; it will just plot its landing on the runway.

“After the TA-0 tests are completed, hypersonic test flights will be conducted on the next TA-1 model. The team has also started manufacturing the third vehicle, the TA–2, the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle,” according to Stratolaunch.

Changing priorities

Roc was supposed to convey launch vehicles to the stratosphere, where they'd fire their engines and enter low Earth orbit. The theory was that launching a spacecraft this way would be significantly less expensive and need less fuel than launching a launch vehicle straight from Earth and battling gravity all the way up.

Following the company's change of ownership, it was planned that the Roc would be used to launch Talon-A unmanned aircraft capable of exceeding Mach 5. They'll mostly be employed for hypersonic flight research.

Roc and Talon-A were supposed to be tested for the first time in early 2022 by Stratolaunch. The test flight has now been pushed out to the middle of 2023.

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