November 01, 2022

World’s Largest Aircraft Glides Past Milestone

If you live in the south-western parts of the USA, near the Mojave desert, you may have caught a glimpse of massive aircraft – a plane carrying many titles, but what it carried out last week is truly a marvel.

The Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch, or simply “Roc”, is basically two airliners connected at the wing: six 747 jumbo jet engines carry a roughly 117-metre-wide, 230 000-kilogram frame. The craft carried a prototype vehicle, Talon-A, over the Mojave desert as part of an experiment last Friday, 28 October.

The test involved the Roc reaching an acceptably high altitude of 11 000 metres simply to see if the plane could carry the hypersonic model, as its main purpose is to transport such vehicles for mid-air launching. Its payload is reported to be able to reach a speed of Mach six.

The craft first took to the desert skies in June, but purely to see if the metal bird would get off the ground and as a proof of concept.

A scheduled drop test for the Roc and the Talon-A is set for next month, and with its success other Talon models will debut early next year. The Stratolaunch team intends rolling out supersonic flights for commercial and military use some time in 2023.

The future is coming fast. Blink, and you will miss it.

Image Credit: Source