World's largest plane just flew for 1st time

Stratolaunch a giant six-engine aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, makes its historic first flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave Calif. Saturday

Allen died of lymphoma in October 2018, only a handful of months before his creation could take flight for the first time.

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane with a 385-foot wingspan, took off and successfully landed for the first time in the California desert on Saturday.

The 117-meter wide plane took off from a runway in California's Mohave Desert and flew for 2.5 hours at altitudes of up to 5,000 meters at speeds of up to 304 km/h.

The dual-fuselage Stratolaunch, which has six Boeing 747 engines, is created to launch rockets into orbit from an altitude of 35,000 feet.

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

"What a fantastic first flight".

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"We finally did it", said Stratolaunch Systems CEO Jean Floyd at a news conference from the hangar at Mojave Air & Space Port.

Citing initial parameters, the officials said that the platform performed a variety of flight control manoeuvres to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing manoeuvres, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips. And the payload would sit under the conjoined center wing, which is created to carry up to 500,000 pounds.

Space observes say that Stratolaunch should be able to pace satellites to a height up to 35,000 feet into the stratosphere. "This is a historic development giving hopes to smooth space journey in future", says an Indian space scientist. The test flight was meant to test the aircraft's performance and handling, eventually touching back down at MASP.

According to test pilot Evan Thomas, a former F-16 Air Force fighter pilot, the plane flew as predicted for the most part. Until now, it had just carried out tests on the ground. "It definitely was ready to fly and wanted to fly", he said. The plane has two fuselages each with its own cockpit-though only one is needed to fly-6 Pratt & Whitney engines, usually found on Boeing 747s, and 28 wheels for its landing gear.

"Paul G. Allen founded Stratolaunch to get game-changing ideas off the ground by making space launch more reliable, affordable and accessible than ever before", according to the company's website.



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