The world’s biggest plane will launch vehicles capable of going hypersonic or, in other words, Mach 5, as reported by Space.com.Stratolaunch is the company behind the world’s largest airplane. Known as the Stratolaunch Carrier, this plane is described by the company as, “a revolutionary launchpad for hypersonic and aerospace vehicles.” It’s flown using six Boeing 747 engines with a payload capacity of over half a million pounds and its wingspan stretches to 385 feet. It stands 50 feet tall and its 103,256 square-foot hangar will soon serve as the launch pad of Stratolaunch’s hypersonic vehicles capable of going five times the speed of sound.
Stratolaunch Hypersonic Vehicles and Planes
“Our hypersonic testbeds will serve as a catalyst in sparking a renaissance in hypersonic technologies for our government, the commercial sector and academia,” a quote from Stratolaunch CEO W. Jean Floyd reads on the company’s website.
The Carrier will launch Stratolaunch Talon As, Talon Zs, and the Black Ice vehicle. The Talon A is described as a, “fully reusable, autonomous, liquid rocket-powered Mach 6-class hypersonic vehicle…(that) will conduct over 1-minute of hypersonic flight testing” before gliding back autonomously to land on a standard airplane runway. The vehicle is also capable of autonomous takeoff.
The Carrier can carry three Talon A vehicles at a time due to the Talon A’s weight of 6000 pounds and wingspan of just 28 feet. Other vehicles the Carrier will one day haul include the Talon Z, which is currently in development, and the Black Ice, which is described on the Stratolaunch website as a,