WASHINGTON, April 14 – The largest aircraft in the world – a Stratolaunch monster with two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines – made its first test flight yesterday in California.
The mega-plane made its maiden voyage to the Mojave Desert.
It is designed to transport in space and drop a rocket that would ignite to deploy satellites.
It is supposed to provide a more flexible way of deploying satellites than vertical takeoff rockets, because you only need a long runway.
It was built by an engineering company called Scaled Composites.
The device is so big that its wing is longer than a football field, about 1.5 times that of an Airbus A380.
Specifically, the wingspan is 117 meters; that of an Airbus A380 is just below 80.
The plane flew yesterday for about two and a half hours, said Stratolaunch. Until now, he had just performed field tests.
It reached a top speed of 304 km / h and reached an altitude of 17,000 feet, or 5,182 meters.
"What a fantastic first flight," said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch.
"Today's flight continues our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground systems," he added.
Stratolaunch was funded by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, to enter the small satellite launch market.
But Allen died last October and the future of the company is uncertain. – AFP