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Stratolaunch conducts second captive carry flight of Hypersonic Vehicle TA-1
The Talon-A is a cornerstone of Stratolaunch's vision for the future of hypersonic testing. Credit: Stratolaunch/Jim Roslansky
Stratolaunch conducts second captive carry flight of Hypersonic Vehicle TA-1
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 26, 2024

Stratolaunch, a pioneer in aerospace technologies, has announced the successful completion of its second captive carry flight involving the Talon-A hypersonic test vehicle, TA-1. This latest flight marks a significant step forward in the company's ambitious program to develop and launch hypersonic vehicles, offering a glimpse into the future of high-speed aviation and defense capabilities.

The flight, which lasted for four hours and 29 minutes, was not just a routine test but a critical milestone for the Stratolaunch team. It represented the thirteenth flight of the company's massive launch platform, Roc, and the second instance where this unique aircraft carried a Talon vehicle equipped with live propellant. This flight was also notable for being the first time TA-1 operated within the Vandenberg Western Range, a strategic move as part of a comprehensive buildup approach for the vehicle's first powered flight.

One of the primary objectives of this flight was to thoroughly evaluate the propulsion system of the Talon-A and the various flight environments while carrying live propellant. This is crucial for ensuring that the vehicle can handle the stresses and demands of hypersonic flight. Additionally, the test aimed to verify the seamless operation of Roc and TA-1's telemetry systems in conjunction with range communication assets. This integration is essential for providing the situational awareness needed to confirm that all systems are ready for the powered flight phase during the release sequence.

Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer and President of Stratolaunch, underscored the importance of this flight, stating, "We collected valuable data during our first captive carry of TA-1 in December 2023, particularly regarding propellant management of TA-1's feed system." He further emphasized the flight's role in the company's risk reduction strategy for TA-1's first powered flight and reiterated Stratolaunch's commitment to delivering maximum value to its customers when that milestone is achieved.

The Talon-A is a cornerstone of Stratolaunch's vision for the future of hypersonic testing. As a reusable, autonomous, hypersonic test vehicle, TA-1 is designed to provide a flexible and cost-effective platform for conducting experiments at speeds exceeding Mach 5. Such capabilities are critical for advancing technologies in fields ranging from global transportation to national security.

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