The Stratolaunch Hypersonic Carrier Aircraft

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hypersonic aircraft

Talentscale is proud to have supported Stratolaunch in their goal to create the world’s first all-composite hypersonic carrier aircraft capable of air-launching other hypersonic aircraft.

Throughout the last 7 years, Talentscale has provided over 400 additional team members to serve on-site at Stratolaunch’s aircraft development hangar. These team members played an integral role in daily engineering tasks, composite fabrications, and the final build of the aircraft’s structure and systems.

In 2011, Stratolaunch Systems and Scaled Composites announced that it would begin developing the Stratolaunch Model 351. This aircraft is currently the largest plane in the world and features a wingspan of 385 feet. To put that in perspective, a Boeing 747’s wingspan is only 212 feet long.

The aircraft — housed in a 103,256 square-foot custom hangar — has a twin-fuselage configuration supported by 12 landing gear wheels and two nose gear wheels. The pilot cockpit is located on the right fuselage, while flight data systems remain in the left fuselage. That left fuselage also contains enough space for up to 2,500 lbs. of mission equipment.

The size of the Stratolaunch Model 351 wasn’t chosen just for its ability to break records, though. Its original mission was to serve as a transport aircraft for space cargo, dropping vehicles into low earth orbit. The goal of this process was to reduce the catastrophic failures that occur from traditional send-off methods, like a rocket on a launching pad.

Additionally, the Model 351 was created to be reusable. It could take off, release its cargo, land, retrieve any additional cargo, and then take off again for another mission.

In 2019, the aircraft took flight for the very first time, successfully landing without any issues. Fueled by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines, this aircraft is capable of carrying a payload of up to 1,300,000 lbs., although its intended payload weight is 550,000 lbs.

Following the unfortunate death of Stratolaunch’s founder, Paul Allen, the company was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management. This acquisition saw the transformation of the Model 351’s flight purpose. As of December 2019, Stratolaunch shifted its focus towards hypersonic flight testing services.

These flight testing services were designed to mitigate technical and logistical barriers currently faced in the hypersonic arena. Unlike traditional launches, the Stratolaunch Model 351 is capable of taking off from multiple runways throughout the U.S. while boasting an impressive, expedited launch timeframe, all with payloads tested in terms of months, rather than years.

Talentscale’s On-Site Program for Stratolaunch

The development of the Stratolaunch Model 351 was a colossal undertaking that would eventually make engineering history. In order to support these massive efforts, Talentscale was tasked with hiring over 400 personnel over a period of seven years. The personnel were instrumental in completing vital engineering tasks, composite fabrications, and the final build of the aircraft.

Talentscale accomplished this through our Talentscale On-Site Program (TOP). TOP was designed as an on-site solution for clients with a massive workforce that is responsible for sustained production operations.

This project began by carefully selecting the most qualified individual to act as Stratolaunch’s On-Site Program Coordinator. This individual was responsible for managing the rest of the workforce. Additionally, the On-Site Program Coordinator worked directly with the Human Resources and Production leaders at Scaled Composites to ensure that a stable, stocked workforce was always available.

Lastly, Talentscale acted as a crucial team member to ensure the safe and successful first flight of the Model 351 in 2019 by providing staffing solutions to both Scaled Composites and BAE Systems. Together, we were able to bring Paul Allen’s dream to life and make aviation history while doing it!

Talentscale excels in providing technicians, engineers, managers, electricians, and mechanics skilled in avionics. In addition to being a Veteran-owned small business, Talentscale often provides support for military aviation maintenance and modification programs.

Aside from providing augmented staffing, we also frequently act as a prime contractor or subcontractor, depending on the unique needs of your project. For projects that operate under government oversight, Talentscale offers small business support throughout the Department of Defense space. We work diligently with our large prime customers to provide small business set aside opportunities, so that we may open new streams of revenue for our clients that are inaccessible for larger companies.

We make an explicit effort to hire from the Veteran community, with 95% of our skilled technicians having served in the armed forces. Our leadership consists of the best of the best, and our team members have extensive experience in managing human capital. Ultimately, Talentscale ensures that every project we are involved in is held up to the strictest standards for quality, accountability, and execution.


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