Stratolaunch LLC has announced the successful separation release test of its Talon-A hypersonic vehicle, marking a significant step toward the system’s first hypersonic flight later this year.
During the event, the company used the world’s biggest aircraft, the Stratolaunch Roc, to demonstrate Talon-A’s clean and safe separation from the plane’s center-wing pylon.
The activity also tested the automatic data recording and transmission between ground communication assets and the hypersonic vehicle to ensure smooth backup data collection during future flights.
“Today’s test was exceptional,” Stratolaunch president Dr. Zachary Krevor said. “Our hardware and data collection systems performed as anticipated, and we now stand at the precipice of achieving hypersonic flight.”
The flight and the separation lasted four hours and eight minutes.
According to Krevor, the Talon-A was able to accomplish a number of primary and secondary objectives during the test.
Apart from performing a clean release, the system flared and landed on the water to avoid destroying infrastructure and harming civilians.
The Talon-A sustained some damage upon its water landing, but it remained intact.
Additionally, the platform carrying the hypersonic vehicle reached its target altitude and speed parameters, flying as high as 21,650 feet (6,598 meters) at a speed of 240 knots (444 kilometers/276 miles per hour).
Stratolaunch’s Talon-A is a fully reusable hypersonic vehicle capable of performing long-duration flights at a maximum speed of Mach 6.
With classified internal payloads, the vehicle can collect crucial data in the true flight environment.
In addition, the Talon-A can glide back for autonomous landing on a traditional runway upon completion of its missions.
In November, the US Air Force announced its support for Stratolaunch’s future hypersonic vehicle tests.