The unique Stratolaunch aircraft took to the skies again. The giant with the largest wingspan (117.3 m) made its first flight back in 2019, but then the company was on the verge of collapse, and then changed the owner.
And on Thursday, the second test flight in California was successfully completed. The flight duration was 3 hours and 14 minutes. The aircraft reached an altitude of 4.3 km and a speed of 320 km / h.
It is also worth noting that after the change of ownership, the Stratolaunch project as a whole changed its course of development. If initially the plane was invented as a means of launching small rockets into space, now the project has been reoriented. About a year ago, the company said that it would be engaged in the development, creation and testing of hypersonic aircraft.
Currently performing various flight test maneuvers. pic.twitter.com/u9uMWzfrEK
— Stratolaunch (@Stratolaunch) April 29, 2021
The Stratolaunch aircraft will lift those very devices into the air, and then they will detach from the carrier and fly on their own. In particular, the Talon-A should be the first such device – an 8.5 m long device with a mass of 2.7 tons, capable of reaching a speed of 6 Max, that is, about 7300 km / h. Interestingly, such a device will also be able to take off on its own. At the same time, Stratolaunch will be able to simultaneously lift up to three Talon-A into the air.
In the long term, Stratolaunch will still be engaged in launching vehicles into space. In the meantime, the first flight with a one-off prototype Talon-A is scheduled for 2022, and the reusable version is planned to be launched in 2023.
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