(Reuters) – Private U.S. company Stratolaunch on Saturday said it had successfully completed the first powered flight of its Talon-A reusable hypersonic vehicle, but did not give precise details.

“Today was a great day for the Stratolaunch team. I am extremely proud of their perseverance to reach this point,” company president Zachary Krevor said in a statement.

“While I can’t share the specific altitude and speed TA-1 reached … we reached high supersonic speeds approaching Mach 5 and collected a great amount of data at an incredible value to our customers,” he said.

Defense contractors hope to capitalize on the shift to hypersonic weapons not only by building them but also by developing new systems to detect and defend against them.

Stratolaunch hopes to complete development of the reusable Talon-A this year.

“Primary objectives for the flight test included accomplishing safe air-launch release of the TA-1 vehicle, engine ignition, acceleration, sustained climb in altitude, and a controlled water landing,” the statement said.

The U.S. and its global rivals are speeding up work on hypersonic weapons, which travel in the upper atmosphere at more than five times the speed of sound.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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