Stratolaunch is a company founded by the late billionaire Paul Allen and was established in 2011. The original goal set out by the company was to use its massive aircrafts to launch satellites into orbit.
Sadly, Allen passed away in October 2018, leaving the company’s future ‘up in the air’. This resulted in the aerospace company being sold to Cerberus Capital Management in October 2019.
Now it’s seems as though those who were left in the dark about the company’s future are finally getting answers. According to the Stratolaunch website, the company plans on using its huge planes, which have a wing span of 117 meters, to launch reusable hypersonic vehicles from the air.
@Stratolaunch our new mission is enabling the world’s leading high-speed techonologies. We build, deliver, and operate Hypersonic Vehicles. Our hypersonic testbeds will help make this type of high-speed testing more reliable and routine. #stratolaunch #thinkbig #breakingbarriers pic.twitter.com/j9yC1C4ZAg
— Stratolaunch (@Stratolaunch) April 1, 2020
Stratolaunch won’t just be launching these vehicles though, it will also be building, testing, and operating them. The company is currently developing a vehicle called the Talon-A that will be powered by a liquid-propelled rocket engine and will launch from the company’s aircraft and fly to speeds of Mach 5 to Mach 7 before gliding back to a runway landing.
According to Stratolaunch’s description of the craft states, “Talon-A will conduct long-duration flight at high Mach, and glide back for an autonomous, horizontal landing on a conventional runway, It will also be capable of autonomous takeoff, under its own power, via a conventional runway.”
Stratolaunch plans to resume test flights of the plane in September as part of work to win certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).