Monday, 22 April, 2019

Worlds largest airplane takes off for the first time

Virgin Orbit plans to use a customized Boeing 747-400 to compete with Stratolaunch Airplane with world's longest wingspan take flight, beating Spruce Goose record
Andrew Wong | 16 April, 2019, 05:07

The Stratolaunch aircraft emerged from its Mojave hangar for the first time in May 2017 and proceeded through ground tests, including taxiing and rolling down a runway at near-takeoff speeds.

The first flight of Stratolaunch, a project of Scaled Composites, founded by the legendary Burt Rutan, lasted 2 hours and 30 minutes and reached 17,000 feet (5,180 meters).

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

The aircraft is created to act as a flying launch pad for satellites.

It is created to carry as many as three satellite-laden rockets under its wings, which stretch about 117 meters.

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The aircraft constructed and designed by Stratolaunch has a record breaking 385-foot wingspan and has been 8 years in the making.

The plane is created to drop rockets and other space vehicles weighing up to 500,000 pounds at an altitude of 35,000 feet and has been billed by the company as making satellite deployment as "easy as booking an airline flight".

A giant six-engine aircraft with the world's longest wingspan completed what company officials called a successful initial flight over California's Mojave Desert, bringing to life a dream held by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In addition to Allen's death, Stratolaunch eventually gave up building a series of rockets and spacecrafts with which it meant to play a significant role in the growing market for satellite launches and other space artifacts. "The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved", said the late billionaire's sister Jody Allen, who is also the chair of his philanthropic trust. It's so large that it needs two cockpits and it's powered by six Boeing 747 engines. Stratolaunch has now made a deal with Northrop Grumman to launch their Pegasus rockets, the first privately developed rocket and the first to use an aircraft to launch it.

This the largest plane in the world taking off in the Mojave desert in the United States. Surviving in an aviation museum, it has an approximately 320-foot (97.5-meter) wingspan but is just under 219 feet (67 meters) long.

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