Stratolaunch Roc, the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan, is reportedly preparing to drop-test a mock-up of the Talon-A reusable, hypersonic launch vehicle.
Pictures of the aircraft with its new payload were shared on Twitter, hinting that it was getting close to a test-flight.
A quick visit to Mojave this afternoon revealed the @Stratolaunch outside of its hangar, can anyone identify the payload please? pic.twitter.com/sLOVldPe5W— Andrew Evans (@evansaviography) October 14, 2022
The test will reportedly see the separation drop-test of an unmanned Talon-A hypersonic mock-up called TA-0, sources told The Aviationist.
On September 22, 2022, Stratolaunch reported the successful trial of the explosive bolts on the Roc’s pylon release system.
If the separation test is successful, Stratolaunch will then proceed with the first test flight of the TA-1 prototype.
The Talon-A is a rocket-powered Mach 5 vehicle designed for hypersonic research and experiments by collecting data after flights.
Stratolaunch eventually hopes to simultaneously launch three Talon aircraft at the same time from three pylons fitted on the central wing of the Roc.
The Roc was originally intended to air launch space rockets by Scaled Composites and conducted its maiden flight in April 2019.
Following the death of Stratolaunch’s founder Paul Allen, the company changed owners and its mission was redefined towards hypersonic research.