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Stratolaunch Debuts Talon-A Separation Test Vehicle

By David Bullock
Parabolic Arc
May 27, 2022
Filed under , , , , , ,
Stratolaunch’s Talon-A separation test vehicle, TA-0. (Image Credit: Domenic Moen/Stratolaunch)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Stratolaunch PR) — Stratolaunch is excited to announce the public debut of its structurally complete Talon-A test vehicle, TA-0, in this week’s issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology. This first Talon-A vehicle will be used to test and validate Roc’s release system and characterize the separation dynamics of the Talon vehicle. In addition to the first view of the vehicle by itself, the article also includes recent photos of the first mating of TA-0 to Roc’s pylon located on the center wing.

The pylon, which was introduced during Roc’s fifth test flight on May 4, will be used to carry and release Talon-A hypersonic vehicles. The hardware is comprised of a mini-wing and adapter that is constructed with aluminum and carbon fiber skins. It weighs approximately 8,000 pounds and occupies 14 feet of Roc’s 95-foot center wingspan, allowing for adequate space between the aircraft’s dual fuselages for safe vehicle release and launch. The custom structure also features a winch system that will load Talon-A vehicles onto the platform from the ground, expediting launch preparation and reducing the need for ground support.

Although this first version of Talon-A will not be powered in flight, its future iterations will be rocket-powered, autonomous, reusable testbeds carrying customizable payloads at speeds above Mach 5. TA-0 will continue functional and integration testing in the coming months, culminating in a captive carry and vehicle flight later this year. After completing TA-0 separation testing, the company will transition to flying its first hypersonic test vehicle, TA-1. The team has also started fabrication of a third vehicle, TA-2, the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle.

Talon-A attached to Roc aircraft. (Credit: Stratolaunch)

The Talon-A testbed capability ultimately enables routine access to the hypersonic flight environment, which is critical for scientific research, technological development, and component demonstration. 

“We’re proud to reveal our first test vehicle to the public and our key stakeholders. TA-0 represents the immense progress our company has made toward hypersonic flight in a short period of time,” said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer and President at Stratolaunch. “Our pace of development parallels the nation’s critical need for hypersonic test capabilities, and we are putting forth every effort toward becoming a national test asset for our government and commercial customers in 2023.”

About Stratolaunch

Stratolaunch’s mission is to advance high-speed technology through innovative design, manufacturing, and operation of world-class aerospace vehicles. For the latest news and information, visit and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

6 responses to “Stratolaunch Debuts Talon-A Separation Test Vehicle”

  1. SLSFanboy says:

    Stratolaunch can, according to it’s payload rating, hang a 250 ton rocket off it’s center section. I believe that would allow for a Falcon 9 launch with a far smaller 1st stage. Perhaps a solid fuel or pair of solid fuel boosters.

    This kind of calculation is likely what drove the entire concept in the first place.

    And that is a good indicator that F9 reusability is not all it is made out to be.

    • Steve says:

      I suppose they could do some sort of “Pegasus” replacement, but how expensive was that system to maintain ? This picture shows nothing but a painted metal shell. One would ask what took so long ?

      • SLSFanboy says:

        Pegasus had problems from the start, is all solid fuel, and only masses about 25 tons so is an order of magnitude smaller and less capable than Stratolaunch. It is a “do-it-cheaper” scheme and you get what you pay for with those.

        The big defense corps keep most of the know-how and data proprietary. If you wonder why a country like South Korea has such problems building a launcher that is why; while spacex had access to U.S. rocket technology they do not. Otherwise they or some other country might have a company that is supposedly the wonder of the world.

        Building the carrier aircraft was fairly easy since the airplane knowledge is basically open source….but anything having to do with launching missiles from aircraft are closely guarded industry secrets. It takes a bottomless barrel of DOD money to make this stuff work. Stratolaunch apparently has not bought off the right politicians yet to get those sweet DOD bucks or get access to the data.

        That would be my take on this. Now the spacex fanboys can post multiple comments making up whatever B.S. they can get away with to discredit what I just wrote. Stand by.

      • SLSFanboy says:

        I’m not sure who’s second term you are referring to. But this administration is currently more focused on “equity” than actual science. Unless you can propose a mission to measure greenhouse gases on the Moon and Mars, I don’t see this administration planning a mission to go either place.

        I am progressive and my short scan of your comment history infers conservative, but in regard to this comment you made, I have to say that in my view, Climate Change is actually the key to humankind expanding off-world.

        The only real solution to Climate Change was foreseen by the true prophet of space colonization, Gerard K. O’Neill, back in the 70’s. Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources. So consider a “Green New Space Deal” and the trillions of dollars the nations of the world would pay to make civilization carbon free by powering it from space. And if O’Neill is the true prophet, then Musk is certainly the anti-christ.

  2. therealdmt says:

    Good luck; should be an interesting test program

  3. duheagle says:

    I guess this is the Talon equivalent of the Shuttle Enterprise.

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