The company stated that the Talon-A is a flexible, high-speed testbed built for offensive hypersonics, hypersonic defense, and hypersonic R&D
Fremont, CA: Air launch company Stratolaunch has started developing a reusable hypersonic vehicle designed to be launched from the company’s giant aircraft. The company founded by late billionaire Paul Allen has named the vehicle Talon-A. The vehicle, powered by a liquid propellant rocket engine, will be launched from the company's aircraft and will be capable of flying up to speeds of Mach 5 to Mach 7 before gliding back to a runway landing. It will also be able to take off on its own from a runway under rocket power.
The company stated that the Talon-A is a flexible, high-speed testbed built for offensive hypersonics, hypersonic defense, and hypersonic R&D. “Our hypersonic testbeds will serve as a catalyst in sparking a renaissance in hypersonic technologies for our government, the commercial sector, and academia," said Jean Floyd, chief executive of Stratolaunch. The company expects an initial operating capability for the vehicle in 2022. Stratolaunch plans to support multiple Talon-A missions on a single flight of its aircraft by 2023. The company believes they can place up to three Talon-A vehicles on a single aircraft. “This unique capability enables multiple hypersonic flight opportunities on a single day or the near-simultaneous launch of three Talon vehicles, which may support specific operational scenarios,” the company stated.
The vehicle is designed to be 8.5 meters long with a wingspan of 3.4 meters and a total mass of about 2,720 kilograms at launch. The company, however, did not disclose details about the vehicle's propulsion system. Company spokesperson Art Pettigrue stated that the company planned to procure the engine from another company, which will be named at a later date. Stratolaunch refused to discuss the cost of developing the vehicle. "The company has been recapitalized by a private investor group with a long-term horizon that includes funding for its initial development," added Pettigrue.
The announcement confirms Stratolaunch’s pivot from a launch services company to one that will provide high-speed flight test services. Allen founded Stratolaunch in 2011 to serve as an air-launch company, cycling through a series of different rocket designs before deciding to use the existing Pegasus XL rocket from Northrop Grumman.
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