Stratolaunch: World’s largest aircraft reaches new record altitude
Stratolaunch’s Roc, the world’s largest aircraft, has just reached a new record altitude of 27,000ft (8,200m) during its seventh test flight. The record breaking flight saw Roc in the air for 3 hours and 1 minute over the Mojave Desert, California last week.
“The flight is a success story of the Stratolaunch team’s ability to increase operational tempo to the pace desired by our customers for performing frequent hypersonic flight test,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Stratolaunch CEO and president. “Furthermore, the team reached a new altitude record of 27,000 feet, thereby demonstrating the aircraft performance needed for our Talon hypersonic vehicle to reach its wide design range of hypersonic conditions.”
The flight focused on continuing Roc’s flight envelope expansion with the recent addition of the pylon on the aircraft’s centre wing.
Test objectives included demonstration of increased maximum altitude capability; continued validation of the aircraft’s general performance and handling characteristics, with the addition of the recently installed pylon hardware; validation of landing gear operations including door functionality, and alternate gear extension.
The Stratolaunch team recently integrated the TA-0 separation test vehicle with the carrier aircraft for the first time, signalling a push towards the captive carry and separation testing happening later in 2022.
The firm is also making “solid” progress on system integration of its first hypersonic flight test vehicle, TA-1 and on the fabrication of a third vehicle, TA-2, the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle.
Stratolaunch anticipates delivering hypersonic flight services to government and commercial customers in 2023.