On Saturday, the world’s largest airplane completed its first test flight. The aircraft built by rocket launch company Stratolaunch weighs around 500,000 pounds. The plane with a wingspan of 385-foot went up in the sky after 10 AM ET from Mojave Air Space, California. It took eight years for the aerospace manufacturer to make the giant aircraft. According to the company, the first testing flight lasted for 150 minutes, and the plane landed safely after the test. During the session, it achieved a speed of 189 miles per hour along with an altitude of 17,000 feet over the Mojave Desert.
The flight does not aim to fly people; rather it intends to carry rockets into high altitudes. The twin-fuselage craft powered with six engines has the potential to fly to a height of 35,000 feet. It can deploy missiles that could start their engines and push themselves into the orbit. Thus, it is the new technology which could launch the satellites into the orbit in the future. So we may see the Stratolaunch carrying rocket ships loaded with satellites in the expected time. If successful, it would be a cheaper way to launch objects into space than that of firing rockets from the ground.
Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch, praised it as a fantastic flight. He said today’s flight promotes their mission to offer a flexible option to traditional launching systems. Aircraft’s test pilot, Evan Thomas, said the flight itself was a smooth and a perfect one. The test flight included speed and flight control tests. Even more, it included a series of energized landing approaches at 15,000 ft. The Stratolaunch aircraft was firstly announced in 2011, and it is the largest plane ever made up of composite materials. If we compare the giant plane with a Boeing 747 which has a wingspan of about 212 feet, it is half that the size of Stratolaunch aircraft. On the other hand, Virgin Galactic has developed aircraft potential to deploy rockets into the orbit from a great height. The manufacturer company, Virgin Galactic belongs to Richard Branson, a British billionaire.