Stratolaunch's Roc carrier aircraft ready for takeoff before its second test flight.
Stratolaunch's Roc carrier aircraft ready for takeoff before its second test flight.

Stratolaunch Announces Research Contract with US Missile Defense Agency

Stratolaunch, LLC is pleased to announce a research contract with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The company plans to augment existing Department of Defense flight test resources through affordable, commercially contracted, rapid-turnaround hypersonic flight testing for the U.S. Department of Defense and its prime contractor partners. The Stratolaunch team is eagerly preparing to complete its next set of Roc carrier aircraft test flights. The team also continues to make tremendous strides in building its first two Talon-A test vehicles: TA-0 and TA-1.

“We’re excited to provide MDA with a threat-representative and threat-replicating target that allows them to understand how to engage and intercept hypersonic threats,” said Dr. Daniel Millman, Chief Technology Officer of Stratolaunch.

Stratolaunch unique air-launch system will use the world’s largest aircraft as a mobile launch platform to deploy a fleet of high-speed vehicles on multiple sorties during a single mission. (Photo by Stratolaunch)

TA-1 will start its power-on testing by the end of year, keeping the company on track to begin hypersonic flight testing in 2022 and to deliver services to government and commercial customers in 2023. Launched from Stratolaunch’s Roc carrier aircraft, the Talon-A vehicles are rocket-powered, autonomous, reusable testbeds carrying customized payloads at speeds above Mach 5. This capability enables routine access to the hypersonic flight environment, which is critical for scientific research, technological development, and component demonstration.

Stratolaunch LLC is an American aerospace company providing high-speed flight test services. It was originally formed in 2011 to develop a new air-launched space transportation system, with its corporate headquarters located in Seattle, Washington. The company and development project were officially announced in December 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan, who had previously collaborated on the creation of SpaceShipOne. The project originally had three primary components: a carrier aircraft being built by Scaled Composites (called the Stratolaunch), a multi-stage payload launch vehicle which was to have been launched at high altitude into space from under the carrier aircraft, plus a mating and integration system by Dynetics.

Stratolaunch’s Roc carrier aircraft ready for takeoff before its second test flight.()