Science & Technology
World's largest plane takes to the skies over California
By T.K. Randall
March 1, 2022 · 4 comments
Stratolaunch is the largest plane ever built. Image Credit: YouTube / MDx Media / Stratolaunch
With a wingspan greater than that of an entire football field, this gargantuan aircraft is a sight to behold.
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.
Having first taken to the skies back in 2019, the gigantic plane took off once more from Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Thursday for another test flight that lasted 1 hour and 43 minutes.
During the flight, Stratolaunch reached a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet.
According to NASA, the test focused on the retraction system of the plane's landing gear.
"Today's successful flight demonstrates and validates improvements to the carrier aircraft's systems and overall flight performance," said Stratolaunch CEO Zachary Krevor.
"The full landing gear retraction and extension brings the carrier aircraft closer to operational status, a milestone that is necessary to ready the aircraft for Talon-A separation and hypersonic flight tests later this year."
You can check out a stream of the entire flight below.
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