Giant Stratolaunch aircraft lands initial flight


The world's largest aircraft, developed by aerospace venture Stratolaunch, completed its first flight test on Saturday. The jet flew 2.5 hours, achieving a maximum speed of 189 mph (304 kph) and altitudes up to 17,000 feet (5,181 meters), the company said.

Chief Executive Jean Floyd said Saturday the aircraft made a "spectacular" landing that was on the mark. The aircraft was conceived by Paul Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan as an aerial launch platform for low Earth orbit satellites that will reduce launch costs substantially.

It has 385 feet (117 meters) wingspan, far more than the largest aircraft ever to fly, such as the Airbus A380, the Antonov An-225 or even the H-4 Hercules, also called "SpruceGoose", created by Howard Hughes.

Stratolaunch has a wingspan of 386 feet (118 m) and is 26 feet (8 m) long.

A commercial Boeing 747's gross weight is 735,000 pounds with a wingspan of 195 feet and a ceiling of 45,000 feet, according to Boeing.

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The plane is created to drop rockets and other space vehicles weighing up to 500,000 pounds at an altitude of 35,000 feet.

It is created to carry into space, and drop, a rocket that would in turn ignite to deploy satellites.

The Stratolaunch, the world's largest aircraft that just so happens to be created to "enable airline-style access to space", successfully took flight for the first time in the Mojave Desert on April 13.

The widest plane ever built prior to the Stratolaunch was the mid-20th-century H-4 Hercules - aka "Spruce Goose" - built by famous USA aviator Howard Hughes.

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.

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"What a fantastic first flight".

"We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today's historic achievement".

"The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved".

Stratolaunch portrays its vessel as the "world's biggest plane" however there are air crafts which are longer from nose to tail. The odd aircraft, built by the legendary aeronautical engineering company Scaled Composites in the Mojave Desert, has two fuselages and is powered by six Boeing 747 engines.

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