Enlarge / The world’s largest aircraft takes off with the Talon A vehicle on Saturday. (credit: Stratolaunch/Matt Hartman)

Built and flown by Stratolaunch, the massive Roc aircraft took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Saturday. The airplane flew out over the Pacific Ocean, where it deployed the Talon-A vehicle, which looks something like a mini space shuttle.

This marked the first time this gargantuan airplane released an honest-to-goodness payload, the first Talon-A vehicle, TA-1, which is intended to fly at hypersonic speed. During the flight, TA-1 didn’t quite reach hypersonic velocity, which begins at Mach 5, or five times greater than the speed of sound.

“While I can’t share the specific altitude and speed TA-1 reached due to proprietary agreements with our customers, we are pleased to share that in addition to meeting all primary and customer objectives of the flight, we reached high supersonic speeds approaching Mach 5 and collected a great amount of data at an incredible value to our customers,” said Zachary Krevor, chief executive of Stratolaunch, in a statement.

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