Stratolaunch Eyes FAA Certification for High-Speed Flight Tests

Stratolaunch Systems intends to establish industry partnerships on hypersonic efforts and continue high-speed flight testing activities by September, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.

Mark Bitterman, vice president for government relations and business development at Stratolaunch, told attendees at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Colorado that the company is working to achieve Federal Aviation Administration certification for monthly test flights of the Stratolaunch-built world’s largest plane.

In April 2019, Stratolaunch first flew the all-composite aircraft that weighs over 500K pounds and can reach speeds of 189 miles per hour.

“Our business plan is built around the operation of a fleet of vehicles with both government and industry customers,” said Bitterman. “What we’re looking at essentially are customizable, reusable and affordable rocket-powered testbed vehicles, and associated flight services.”

He added that the company is “still looking for partnerships” in efforts such as sending payloads on suborbital missions through the company’s hypersonic platforms.

Vulcan, a company founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, transitioned its ownership of Stratolaunch to New York-based private equity firm Cerebrus Capital Management in October.

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