Stratolaunch has announced a contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to support the flight test of the company’s first expendable Talon-A hypersonic test vehicle, TA-1.
Launched from the Roc aircraft, Talon-A is a rocket-powered, autonomous testbed with the ability to fly a variety of hypersonic flight profiles while carrying customized payload experiments on board. According to the company, the autonomous, reusable testbed could make flight testing more accessible and affordable.
The Talon-A will be carried by Roc into the sky and then released from the air, traveling at speeds of over Mach 5 and at altitudes of 35,000 ft (10,668 meters). The first Talon-A vehicle is an expendable configuration. The next generation of Talon-A vehicles will be capable of reusable hypersonic flight.
“We’re pleased that AFRL has chosen to support the flight of our first hypersonic vehicle, and we have enjoyed working with the esteemed team,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer for Stratolaunch. “We look forward to providing flight test services to AFRL and other customers in the near future.”
As for Talon-A’s first flight, Stratolaunch anticipates flying TA-1 in the first quarter of 2023.