On April 1, 2023, Stratolaunch gracefully lifted from runway 30 at Mojave Air and Space Port to begin routine flight operations in Vandenberg Space Force Base’s Western Range off California’s central coast.
ROC was carrying Talon-A separation test vehicle, TA-0 and the flight was the 10th for the company’s launch platform.
According to a press release by Stratolaunch, the flight, which lasted a total of five hours, performed risk reduction by practicing a variety of separation profiles and confirming telemetry between Roc and Talon-A vehicles and Vandenberg Space Force Base’s communication assets, assuring that back-up telemetry data collection will occur during future flight tests.
“This third captive carry accomplished data collection and verification of hardware that further builds confidence and reduces risks for our upcoming release test of our separation vehicle, known as TA-0. The team also practiced the release sequence, enabling us to collect important data regarding how the Stratolaunch Talon Launch System performs during this dynamic phase of flight,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer for Stratolaunch.
“We thank the Western Range, Vandenberg Space Force Base for their outstanding support of our mission. Their partnership is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when private and government organizations come together to accomplish a mutually beneficial goal. We look forward to working together during our future operations pursuing hypersonic flight,” he said.
Pending results of post-flight data analysis, the team will progress toward a separation test in the coming weeks, enabling the company to perform its first hypersonic flight in 2023.
It is always exciting to be there to watch ROC make several low passes and then come around for the touchdown. I am always amazed at how quiet this huge aircraft is, even when you are right next to the runway!