Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

World’s Largest Airplane Completes First Flight Successfully

World's biggest plane takes flight as mobile launchpad for satellites World's largest plane makes first flight
Emmett Howard | 16 April, 2019, 04:53

Hoping to manufacture a high-altitude launch pad providing convenient, affordable, airline-style access to space, Stratolaunch Systems Corporation was created in 2011 by Microsoft's billionaire co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away past year.

The world's largest aircraft took off over the Mojave Desert in California on Saturday, the first flight for the carbon-composite plane built by Stratolaunch Systems Corp, started by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, as the company enters the lucrative private space market. During the test flight, he reached a maximum altitude of 17,000 feet and a top speed of 189 miles per hour. Pacific time (1400 GMT) and stayed aloft for more than two hours before landing safely back at the Mojave Air and Space Port as a crowd of hundreds of people cheered.

"It was an emotional moment for me, personally, to watch this majestic bird take flight", exclaimed Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd after the mission.

It's a novel idea which has already seen the company sign up its first customer in Northrop Grumman, which plans to use Stratolaunch to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space.

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The aircraft has a world-record wingspan of 385 feet, and is 238 feet long. The reinforced center wing can support multiple launch vehicles, weighing up to a total of 500,000 pounds, according to the venture.

Powered by the same type of engines used by Boeing 747s, the aircraft is created to take off at a maximum weight of 1.3m lbs.

"We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today's historic achievement", said Jody Allen, Paul's sister and chairwoman of Vulcan Inc., one of Paul Allen's companies. Dozens of photographers, industry bloggers and aerospace enthusiasts gathered this week to glimpse the unique twin-fuselage plane.

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