Airplane with world's longest wingspan take flight, beating Spruce Goose record
14 April, 2019, 13:29
Importantly, Saturday's flight was just a test - no rockets were launched from the giant plane as it soared at 17,000 feet.
The Stratolaunch, which has the world's longest wingspan though is not the biggest when it comes to nose-to-tail measurements, landed two hours after taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
The 117-meter wide plane took off from a runway in California's Mohave Desert and flew for 2.5 hours at altitudes of up to 5,000 meters at speeds of up to 304 km/h.
The trial has been spotted by photographers at the Mojave Air and Space Port. The dual-fuselage Stratolaunch is created to fly at an altitude of 35,000 feet, where it can drop rockets that ignite their engines and boost themselves into orbit around the planet.
The world's largest airplane took its first flight early Saturday.
Stratolaunch was developed by Northrop Grumman division Scaled Composites for Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, a company founded in 2011 by American billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen. It also conducted simulated landing approach exercises at a max altitude of 15,000 feet mean sea level. And the payload would sit under the conjoined center wing, which is created to carry up to 500,000 pounds.
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The aircraft, built by rocket launch company "Stratolaunch", had its critical first test flight and is created to launch rockets into orbits from the air.
"The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved". And for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted which is again exactly what we want.
The aircraft's wingspan is nearly double that of an Airbus A380.
Powered by the same type of engines used by Boeing 747s, the aircraft is created to take off at a maximum weight of 1.3 million pounds.
It features twin fuselages - sort of the aeroplane equivalent of a catamaran - that span 72.5 meters long. "Today's flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground-launched systems". The unusual aircraft, built by the legendary aeronautical engineering company Scaled Composites in the Mojave Desert, has two fuselages and is powered by six Boeing 747 engines.
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