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The World's Largest Aircraft Completes Fourth Flight Test

The World's Largest Aircraft Completes Fourth Flight Test

Stratolaunch‘s “Roc” carrier aircraft recently completed its fourth test flight.

Roc is currently the largest aircraft in the world with a wingspan of 385 feet (117 meters), more than triple that of the commercial-industry-standard Boeing 737. The carrier’s purpose is to serve as a launchpad for its upcoming hypersonic testbed vehicle, Talon-A, an autonomous, rocket-powered, and reusable craft capable of carrying payloads at speeds of above Mach 5 (over 3,000 mph and five times the speed of sound). According to Stratolaunch, the primary object of the latest flight test was to retract and extend all of the landing gear for the first time.

“Today’s successful flight demonstrates and validates improvements to the carrier aircraft’s systems and overall flight performance,” Stratolaunch President and COO Dr. Zachary Krevor happily reports. “The full landing gear retraction and extension brings the carrier aircraft closer to operational status, a milestone that is necessary to ready the aircraft for Talon-A separation and hypersonic flight tests later this year.”

With the help of Roc, Stratolaunch plans to start testing hypersonic flights later this year and begin delivering services to customers in 2023.