Stratolaunch, the world’s largest airplane and built to launch rockets, takes first flight

imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
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29,508
Colorado
Make mine a supersize.... Good grief!!


Stratolaunch, the world’s largest airplane and built to launch rockets, takes first flight
Aviation has a new number one in size, as a one-of-a-kind airplane completed its first test flight on Saturday morning above California’s Mojave desert.​
The test makes the immense Stratolaunch the largest airplane in the world to fly, with a wingspan measuring 385 feet -- wider than a football field is long. The plane flew for 2½ hours over the Mojave at altitudes up to 17,000 feet, hitting a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour. With two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines. Stratolaunch is built to launch rockets from the air.​
Stratolaunch is an “air launch” system, meaning that the aircraft will carry rockets up to about 35,000 feet and then drop the rocket. One of the advantages of such a system, touted by Stratolaunch as well as Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, is that flying in and out of a traditional runway gives greater flexibility and, eventually, will allow for quick turnaround between launches.

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