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Gigantic Mystery Aircraft Spotted Near Mojave: New Engines and Test Cargo Spark Curiosity

Stratolaunch Gears Up for Alleged In-Flight Release Test of Talon Hypersonic Testbed A hint from a highly experienced spotter in the U.S. on Thursday, October 13, 2022, led TheAviationist to Mojave Air & Space Port to locate “Roc,” the world’s largest aircraft, the unique Stratolaunch, outside its enormous hangar. The following day, its engines were observed operating, and the colossal, twin-fuselage, six-engine aircraft had been relocated far from its hangar. “Roc,” the massive Stratolaunch carrier aircraft at Mojave Air & Space Port.

According to further reliable sources connected to the Stratolaunch project, the aircraft is being readied for an upcoming test flight that is said to involve the separation drop-test of an unmanned Talon-A hypersonic mock-up, dubbed “Talon-0” for this alleged forthcoming test. Stratolaunch was seen loaded with what is believed to be a drop-test mock-up of the Talon-A reusable, hypersonic launch vehicle. The insider close to the project informed TheAviationist that the aircraft might be flight-ready in “Two to three weeks.”

Stratolaunch was pushed back with engines running on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. The sighting of Stratolaunch triggered a flurry of unconfirmed rumors that the aircraft might perform a fly-over at the 2022 Aerospace Valley Open House, Air Show, and STEM Expo at Edwards Air Force Base, just south of Stratolaunch’s location. The event is planned for Saturday and Sunday, October 15 & 16. One schedule provided to media at the show is said to feature the Talon-A hypersonic unmanned test vehicle. No official mention of Stratolaunch was made by air show organizers. Ground crew members were observed inspecting engines on Stratolaunch on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.

When the source close to Stratolaunch was questioned about the aircraft’s appearance at Edwards AFB, they answered, “We can’t. We don’t have the proper flight certification for a demonstration.” The alleged upcoming flight of Stratolaunch in “Two to three weeks” was described to TheAviationist as a test of how the reusable Talon-A unmanned hypersonic will detach from the Stratolaunch launch aircraft. The source informed us that “The Talon-0 is an accurate representation of the weight, C.G. [center of gravity], and aerodynamic properties of the Talon-1. It even has a system for pumping fluid to simulate fuel flow.”

When Stratolaunch takes to the skies again, it will mark the aircraft’s eighth flight, according to our source. The enormous twin-fuselage launch platform aircraft boasts a wingspan of 117 meters or 385 feet. It is powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4000 jet engines repurposed from two Boeing 747s. The aircraft’s landing gear also originates from 747 aircraft. It is constructed almost entirely of advanced composites, including carbon fiber. Stratolaunch can transport and deploy up to three orbital vehicles for drop-launching into orbit. The launch concept rivals other commercial space payload launch methods, such as SpaceX, which collaborated with Stratolaunch until 2012.

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