MOJAVE, Calif., June 9, 2022 – Stratolaunch Carrier Completes its sixth flight test of Roc, the world’s largest flying aircraft. The aircraft flew for 1 hour and 26 minutes over the Mojave Desert and reached an altitude of 15,000 feet (45720 m).
The sixth flight focused on continuing Roc’s flight envelope expansion with the recent addition of the pylon on the aircraft’s center wing. The pylon, comprised of a mini-wing and adapter, will be used to safely carry and release reusable, rocket-powered Talon-A hypersonic vehicles.
During the test program, the team encountered results that determined they would not complete the full set of test objectives. Therefore, the team focused on accomplishing:
- Continued validation of the aircraft’s general performance and handling characteristics, with the addition of the recently installed pylon hardware
- Continued validation of landing gear operations including door functionality, and alternate gear extension.
“Today’s flight builds on previous successful flights and hardware enhancements,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Stratolaunch Chief Executive Officer and President. “We will leverage this flight experience as we complete integrated testing in the coming months and prepare for Talon-A test flights.”
The Stratolaunch team recently integrated the TA-0 separation test vehicle with the carrier aircraft for the first time, signaling a priority push toward captive carry and separation testing happening later this year. The team is also making steady progress on system integration 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. The company anticipates delivering hypersonic flight services to government and commercial customers in 2023.
Stratolaunch, headquartered in Seattle and Mojave, designed and built a giant transport aircraft to lift missiles into orbit. The two-body aircraft with a wingspan of 385 feet is considered the largest aircraft in the world. Stratolaunch drove this vehicle for the first time in the only test flight in April 2021.
With one or more launch vehicles in tow, the Carrier Aircraft departs. The launch vehicles are released after the Carrier has reached altitude, and it returns to base to prepare for its next mission.
- The innovative high-wing design with two fuselages allows the launcher to be deployed safely from the centerline of the aircraft and below the wings.
- The payload of the six Boeing 747 engines exceeds 226,796 kilograms.
- The enhanced central wing provides buoyancy, stability, and the hanger can support a variety of launch vehicles weighing more than 226,796 kg and can provide multiple payload channels at any tilt angle.
- The wingspan makes it the largest aircraft ever, and its span exceeds a football field, including the end area.
- The carbon fiber reinforced aircraft carrier center wing has a maximum load capacity of 1.3 million pounds and can support up to 500,000 pounds.
- To support its weight, the Carrier is provided with twenty-eight wheels to equally distribute the load. By comparison, Boeing’s 747 has eighteen wheels.
- The aircraft carrier is the largest aircraft in the world. Its side-to-side wingspan is more than three times that of the Wright brothers’ first flight.
- The carrier is 50 feet above the ground up to the top of its vertical tail, which makes it difficult for humpback whales to see above it.
- The 747 aircraft carrier has 6 engines and is powerful enough to travel more than 1,000 nautical miles and reach an altitude of 35,000 feet.
- Their hangar has the widest garage door in the world, and the hangar is so large that the area must issue a special scaffolding permit for the aircraft.