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World's largest plane cruises down the runway

Posted on Wednesday, 20 December, 2017 | Comment icon 11 comments

Payloads can be attached under the central wing. Image Credit: YouTube / MDx Media / Stratolaunch
Stratolaunch's new aircraft is so enormous that its wingspan could contain an entire football field.
Measuring a whopping 385ft across and capable of carrying payloads of up to 500,000 pounds, the massive plane almost looks like two airliners stuck together with its unusual dual-fuselage design.

Spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, the project aims to create a cost-effective and reliable means with which to launch satellites, shuttles and other spacecraft from low-Earth orbit.

This week's trial run, which saw the plane cruise down the runway using all six of its turbofan engines, represents another major step forward for the company.

The aircraft is expected to take to the skies for the first time at some point in 2019.

"This was another exciting milestone for our team and the program," said aircraft program manager George Bugg. "Our crew was able to demonstrate ground directional control with nose gear steering, and our brake systems were exercised successfully on the runway."

"Our first low speed taxi test is a very important step toward first flight. We are all proud and excited."

Source: | Comments (11)

Tags: Stratolaunch

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Manfred von Dreidecker on 20 December, 2017, 17:29
Now that looks very interesting. Sort of a revival of the P-82 Twin Mustang or Heinkel 111Z concept. With the engines of the Antonov An-225.
Comment icon #3 Posted by khol on 20 December, 2017, 17:52
The main advantage of the twin fuselage from wiki More recently the idea of a dedicated re-usablemothershipdesign capable of carrying and launching a spacecraft has gained interest. The twin fuselage configuration offers the advantage of a clean payload area underneath the wing centre section. We have progressed in design and efficiency over the years... see below
Comment icon #4 Posted by and then on 20 December, 2017, 18:18
Thank you. You taught me something today that pleases me. I consider myself a WWII aviation hobbyist/historian and I'd never seen thetwin Mustang. I thought it was a joke. When did they create this combination? It mustn't have been superior to the P-38 Lightning or it would have been more popular. BTW, if you ever have the chance, you really should make a trip to Osh Kosh, Wisconsin for the It was amazing and I look forward to attending again, someday. It's the last week in July each year and has the largest assortment of WWII "Warbirds" to be found ... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 December, 2017, 18:38
Yes it can. Your logic is very faulty. Just as catamaran is ONE boat with two hulls this is ONE aircraft with two fuselages.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 December, 2017, 18:42
It's basically the same concept that was used for the WhiteKnightOne aircraft that launched SpaceShipOne in 2003 and the WhiteKnightTwo which Virgin is using for SpaceShipTwo... just scaled up some what.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Manfred von Dreidecker on 20 December, 2017, 19:24
It was just too late for WWII but saw service in the Korean war, and even downed one or two MiGs as I recall. North American F-82 Twin Mustang
Comment icon #8 Posted by Jon the frog on 20 December, 2017, 22:03
Wow the middle wing segment must be crazy strong, it need to cope with all the torsion forces from the separated tails. I found the design scary, the twin mustang had is tail connected to each other and looked more sturdy. But well, they know what they are doing ! Giant things with wings ! Will be awesome to watch when launching a rocket !
Comment icon #9 Posted by toast on 20 December, 2017, 22:28
The Einstein of aerospace engineering, Burt Rutan, was involved so you are right. He founded his company Scaled Composites in 1983, see some of the A/Cs here.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Jon the frog on 21 December, 2017, 1:36
Yeah Rutan like twin booms aircraft's and he's doing out of this world design. Good to have some people out there thinking outside the envelope.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Manfred von Dreidecker on 21 December, 2017, 7:33
There's some details of it on Wiki the pedia, the argument about size is based on Wingspan as can be seen from the diagram on that page. In terms of length it's relatively short. I see the engnes (and many of the systems) were recycled from redundant B747-400s.

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