Owned by Stratolaunch Aircraft, Roc (Stratolaunch Model 351) aircraft made its fourth flight. In total, it stayed in the air for 1 hour and 43 minutes. The maximum altitude reached during the flight was 4572 m.
At the moment, Roc is the airplane with the largest wingspan in history. This indicator is 117.3 m, which is more than the legendary Hughes H-4 Hercules built by Howard Hughes. The length of the airplane is 73 m, the height is 15 m, its maximum take-off weight is 589 tons. Thanks to six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines, the platform will be able to lift up to 250 tons of cargo on its external sling.
Roc was created for the purpose of air launching cargo into low Earth orbit. The Pegasus-XL rocket was to be used for this. The plane had the ability to simultaneously lift and launch up to three missiles of this type. In the future, Stratolaunch plans to launch media of its own design.
However, after the death of Stratolaunch founder Paul Allen, the new management considered the project unpromising. In 2019, the company was sold. The new owners decided to repurpose a huge aircraft. Now it will be used as an experimental aerial platform and carrier for launching Talon-A hypersonic vehicles. Last year, Stratolaunch conducted altitude tests of its layout in order to check its aerodynamic qualities. The next model will be equipped with a power plant.
According to the management of Stratolaunch, the success of the new flight was another step towards the start of operation of the Roc. The company plans to achieve operational readiness of the aircraft by the second half of 2023.
According to https://www.space.com