Showing posts with label Statolaunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Statolaunch. Show all posts

09 December, 2023

Virgin Orbit's Boeing 747 now flies for Stratolaunch.


Earlier this month Stratolaunch welcomed the latest edition to its fleet, a Boeing 747 that they've named The Spirit of Mojave. This 20+-year-old jet was previously called Cosmic Girl and flew with Virgin Orbit, before its recent downfall and prior to that it was a regular transatlantic commuter operating flights for Virgin Atlantic Airways.

The modified 747 was named by the Stratolaunch employees, the firm confirmed on social media,  as a tribute to the passion of the Mojave aerospace community that has built and tested some of the world’s most unique aircraft. The Spirit of Mojave symbolizes expanded capability and reach to execute our hypersonic test mission. 

The expansion of Stratolaunch's fleet will increase its in-flight test capacity and ability to support government and commercial customers globally.  "The addition of this aircraft is a transformational milestone," said Dr. Zachary Krevor, President and CEO of Stratolaunch. "With Roc remaining as our mainstay aircraft, an additional 747 brings expanded capabilities and flexibility to our platform. We will be able to increase both our flight test capacity and reach to become an even stronger partner to global customers.".

Stratolaunch has also confirmed the completion of a captive carry flight with the first powered Talon-A hypersonic vehicle, TA-1. The flight was the twelfth for the company's launch platform Roc and the first in which the aircraft carried a Talon vehicle with live propellant as part of a buildup approach for Talon-A's first powered flight.

The flight lasted a total of three hours and 22 minutes and represented a significant step forward in the company's near-term goal of completing a powered flight with the Talon-A vehicle, TA-1. A primary objective was to evaluate Talon-A's propulsion system and the Talon environments while carrying live propellant. A second objective was to verify Roc and TA-1's telemetry systems, which provides the situational awareness to ensure all systems are ready for powered flight during the release sequence. 


"Talon-A's propulsion system supports a liquid-propellant rocket engine that provides the thrust needed for Talon-A to reach hypersonic speeds. While we have conducted several successful ground tests fueling and igniting the system, we needed to evaluate how the system performs in the flight environment prior to release," said Dr. Zachary Krevor, Chief Executive Officer for Stratolaunch. "Initial results from today's flight show that the system has performed as predicted, and we will determine our next steps pending the full data review of the test."