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World's largest plane flies for the first time


Posted on Sunday, 14 April, 2019 | Comment icon 8 comments

This is one enormous airplane. Image Credit: YouTube / Stratolaunch
The gargantuan aircraft, which has a wingspan bigger than a football field, soared in to the sky on Saturday.
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.

The huge aircraft took off for the first time from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California yesterday and stayed aloft for two-and-a-half hours at a peak altitude of 17,000ft.
Its maiden flight enabled engineers to get a proper feel for its performance and handling.

Once it is ready for commercial operations, the plane, which is named Roc, will be able to serve as a relatively inexpensive option for launching satellite-carrying rockets in to space.

"What a fantastic first flight," said Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd. "Today's flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground-launched systems."

"We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today's flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman's Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port."


Source: Space.com | Comments (8)

Tags: Stratolaunch

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by and then on 14 April, 2019, 12:38
What an innovative approach to launching things into space. I've read about anti-satellite missiles being launched from aircraft but I thought they were much higher when launched than 35,000 ft. I grew up watching NASA missions and I remember the excitement of waiting for a Saturn V launch but these days the thing that impresses me the most is the sight of launch vehicles RETURNING for a powered landing. That STILL amazes me.
Comment icon #2 Posted by ouija ouija on 14 April, 2019, 13:29
Let's be honest, they've cheated a bit because it's actually two planes side by side so of course the wingspan is massive.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Habitat on 14 April, 2019, 13:36
I keep wanting to mentally connect the two tails, it does seem structurally unsound the way it is, but what would I know.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Susanc241 on 14 April, 2019, 17:44
Can anybody tell me if they need pilots in both cockpits. Can?t find any mention of that.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Seti42 on 14 April, 2019, 18:55
A while back, I watched a YouTube video about this, and they said the pilot/co-pilot are only on one side. Both sides can be loaded with cargo/instruments/people however.
Comment icon #6 Posted by bison on 14 April, 2019, 19:24
At 35,000 feet, they are above 3/4 of the Earth's atmosphere. That represents a considerable savings in fuel and, so, rocket weight, required to fight upward through atmospheric drag. The article doesn't mention it, but this plane can carry a payload of 400 tons (800,000 lbs.) !
Comment icon #7 Posted by MWoo7 on 14 April, 2019, 19:41
Fastest way out the door, IN ANY OPERATION ! mention the obvious, no quicker way to be booted . . They'll get to that, don't tell the adults what to do too early! (oh and if you want to work again, make sure its their idea.)
Comment icon #8 Posted by aztek on 17 April, 2019, 19:42
another article did


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