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By Cathy Hansen
contributing writer 

First powered flight for Stratolaunch TA-1 test vehicle

Short Flights


March 16, 2024

Exciting flight test news from Mojave Air & Space Port: Stratolaunch successfully accomplished the first powered flight of Talon-A test vehicle, TA-1!

It was a beautiful morning takeoff from runway 30 at Mojave Air & Space Port on Saturday, March 9. All of the Stratolaunch team were hopeful for a great flight, all the while knowing that flight test can have glitches and delays.

While at the designated spot and altitude over the Pacific Ocean, TA-1 was released and the rocket motor fired as planned. The Talon is powered with a 5,000 pound-thrust Ursa Major-built Hadley rocket engine. The video is exciting to watch and you can view it yourself:

A press release stated, "Stratolaunch, LLC is pleased to announce it has successfully completed the first powered flight of the Talon-A test vehicle, TA-1. This first flight represents a major milestone in the development of the country's first privately funded, reusable hypersonic test capability.

"Primary objectives for the flight test included accomplishing safe air-launch release of the TA-1 vehicle, engine ignition, acceleration, sustained climb in altitude, and a controlled water landing."

Dr. Zachary KrevorPresident and CEO of Stratolaunch said, "Today was a great day for the Stratolaunch team. I am extremely proud of their perseverance to reach this point. The successful outcome of the test is a direct result of the team's technical prowess and professionalism.

"While I can't share the specific altitude and speed TA-1 reached due to proprietary agreements with our customers, we are pleased to share that in addition to meeting all primary and customer objectives of the flight, we reached high supersonic speeds approaching Mach 5 and collected a great amount of data at an incredible value to our customers," said Dr. Krevor. "Our goal with this flight was to continue our risk reduction approach for TA-2's first reusable flight and be steadfast on our commitment of delivering maximum value to our customers. We are excited to review the data from today's test and use it as we plan our next steps toward TA-2's first flight later this year."

Provided by Stratolaunch.


Concurrent to TA-1 testing, Stratolaunch is progressing on the manufacturing of TA-3, the second fully reusable vehicle in that Talon-A product line. The company is also beginning modifications to its additional launch platform, the Spirit of Mojave, a modified Boeing 747-400.

Congratulations to the entire team at Stratolaunch. So happy for your successful flight and launch! Many enthusiasts were on hand to catch photos when ROC landed. Evan Hawley was pleased to capture these great photos of the landing back at Mojave Air & Space Port.

Powered by a 5,000 pound-thrust Ursa Major-built Hadley rocket engine, the Talon is designed to fly at hypersonic speed for several minutes. The TA-1 mission was the first to evaluate the complete system in free-flight at full power, and Stratolaunch appears confident the vehicle will continue to improve in terms of range and speed.


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