Stratolaunch’s Roc, biggest plane ever, makes 2nd flight

Stratolaunch today successfully completed the second test flight of its gigantic airplane Roc, biggest plane ever flown, and the first flight in two years.

Today’s takeoff from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port at 7:28 a.m. PT marked the first time the plane, nicknamed Roc after the giant bird of Arabian and Persian mythology, got off the ground since Stratolaunch’s acquisition by Cerberus Capital Management in October 2019.

Roc rose as high as 14,000 feet and traveled at a top speed of 199 mph during a flight that lasted three hours and 14 minutes — which is close to an hour longer than the first flight on April 13, 2019. During that earlier flight, the airplane reached a maximum speed of 189 mph and maximum altitude of 17,000 feet.

Since the death of Paul Allen, the original owner, Cererus has re-purposed Roc from a platform for orbital rockets to a testbed platform for launching the three hypersonic test planes that the company is building. These planes will allow for regular and frequent flight tests of this technology, something that has been lacking since the days of the X-15 in the 1950s.