The biggest aircraft in the world, the Stratolaunch, makes your first flight.
An airplane with a wingspan greater than the length of a football field just flew for the first time — putting us one step closer to more affordable spaceflight.
The largest airplane in the world, the Stratolaunch, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif., on Saturday for its first test flight. According to a news release, it reached a maximum speed of 304 kilometers per hour (189 miles per hour) over the course of the 2.5-hour-long flight, soaring as high as 17,000 feet before landing safely.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen started Stratolaunch Systems in 2011 with the goal of building an airplane massive enough to carry rockets and other spacecraft to low-earth orbit.
This way of reaching space, known as air launch to orbit, has numerous benefits over traditional spacecraft launches. Because the plane takes off from a runway, it “can circumvent bad weather, air traffic, and other variables that cause delays with traditional ground launches,” according to Stratolaunch’s website.
Another advantage of this type of launch is reuse. The launcher aircraft can be used many times, reducing costs and space debris. This is an artistic conception of Stratolaunch carrying a rocket.
Data of Stratolaunch is in company’s site. Here is the link.
- Wingspan: 117 m.
- Length: 73 m.
- Tail height: 15 m.
- Has 6 Boeing 747 engines, the Pratt & Whitney PW4056.
- Maximum takeoff weight: 589,670 kg.
- Range: 1,852 km.