Stratolaunch makes its first flight



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At 13:58 Pacific daylight time (13:58 GMT) on April 13, 2019, the world's largest aircraft took off for the first time over the Mojave Desert.

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The Stratolaunch aircraft is scheduled to land after its first flight on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Photo credit: Matthew Kuhns / SpaceFlight Insider

The Stratolaunch aircraft is scheduled to land after its first flight on April 13, 2019. Photo credit: Matthew Kuhns / SpaceFlight Insider

MOJAVE, Calif. – The world's largest aircraft flew for the first time. At 6:58 pm Pacific Standard Time (13:58 GMT) on April 13, 2019, the 351 scale model took off over the Mojave Desert.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen founded Stratolaunch to develop an affordable and accessible platform for launching rockets. Unfortunately, Allen was unable to attend the flight of the plane since he died of cancer in October 2018.

The flight lasted two and a half hours and reached a maximum speed of 165 knots.

A Stratolaunch ground plane at the Mojave air and space port. Photo Credit: Matthew Kuhns / SpaceFlight Insider

A Stratolaunch ground plane at the Mojave air and space port. Photo Credit: Matthew Kuhns / SpaceFlight Insider

"Today has been great. The plane flew as planned. The flight went very well and the team had a lot of fun, "said test pilot Evan Thomas after the flight. "This flight is truly a tribute to the hard work of all the men and women who have worked tirelessly over the years to make this program a reality."

The plane has been in development since 2011, when Stratolaunch and Scaled Composites teamed up to build it. Stratolaunch is capable of carrying up to three Northrop Grumman Innovation System Pegasus XL rockets at the same time. Currently, Pegasus rockets are launched from a Lockheed Martin L-1011.

The maiden voyage is another feat for an already successful business.

"The Scaled team excels in solving the toughest problems of aviation. We have been testing an average new type of aircraft per year for 37 years, "said Cory Bird, president of Scaled Composites, in a statement released by the company. "Together with Stratolaunch, we achieved another first in aviation by flying the world's largest all-composite aircraft and moving closer to the goal of increasing the accessibility of space launch.

Tagged: Tales of Mojave Lead Air and Space Port Mojave Desert Paul Allen Composites at Stratolaunch Scale

Patrick Attwell

Patrick Attwell is from Houston, Texas, but currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he studies accounting at Concordia University in Texas. Atwell is passionate about everything related to aerospace, rockets and aviation. Atwell has been working to cover these areas for over ten years. After attending and attending the launch of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, he gave it what is known in the space community as the "rocket rocket". Since then, Atwell has followed his dreams and has covered NASA flight crew-related events at NASA's Johnson Space Center and other space-related events in the area. 39, state of Lone Star.


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