Stratolaunch completes separation test of hypersonic Talon aircraft


Stratolaunch has successfully completed a separation release test of its Talon hypersonic aircraft.

Stratolaunch is developing Talon-A to be a re-usable testbed for flight testing hypersonic vehicles, and their associated components and systems at a reduced cost. The rocket-powered Mach 5+ aircraft’s first customer is the US Air Force.

Talon is launched from under the center of carrier aircraft Roc’s wing. Roc is the world’s largest flying aircraft and has a wingspan of 385ft.

Talon-0 (TA-0) was launched from the Roc on May 13, 2023. The entire test flight lasted a total of four hours and eight minutes and demonstrated that the Talon-A launch system can cleanly and safely separate hypersonic vehicles from Roc’s center-wing pylon.

The flight test also confirmed telemetry between the vehicles and Vandenberg Space Force Base’s communication assets, assuring that backup telemetry data collection will occur during future hypersonic flight tests.

The flight was the eleventh for Roc and the second time the team has conducted flight operations in Vandenberg Space Force Base’s Western Range off California’s central coast. Roc’s maiden flight was in 2019.

With the separation test complete, the next step for the company will be Talon’s first hypersonic flight, which is planned for August or September this year.

Zachary Krevor, CEO and president for Stratolaunch said, “Today’s test was exceptional. It was exhilarating to see TA-0 release safely away from Roc, and I commend our team and partners. Our hardware and data collection systems performed as anticipated, and we now stand at the precipice of achieving hypersonic flight.”

“We also thank the Western Range, Vandenberg Space Force Base, for their continued support of our test operations. They have provided us with multiple flight opportunities and have been a great partner adapting to our various schedule requests as we adjusted our release window. We look forward to working together during our future operations pursuing hypersonic flight,” he said.

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About Author


Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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