Stratolaunch that is billed as the biggest airplane in the world finally completed flight by clocking-in a speed of 189 miles per hour flying over the Mojave Desert for more than two and a half hours. This is important considering the fact that Microsoft’s late CEO Paul Allen founded Stratolaunch Systems Corporation that engineered the Stratolaunch aircraft.
Another USP of the Stratolaunch is the fact that the aircraft could be used to launch other space vehicles (into orbit), supporting a total weight of upto 500,000 pounds. Also, multiple flight control manoeuvres were performed during its first flight; and these included the likes of roll doubles, pull-ups, pushovers, side slips, and yawing manoeuvres. During this flight, Stratolaunch clocked up an altitude of 15000 feet above sea level.
“The Stratolaunch aircraft is the world’s largest aircraft, specifically designed to launch rockets into space," stated Jean Floyd who is CEO at Stratolaunch.
“Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground-launched systems. We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today’s flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman’s Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port,” added Floyd.
Now, Stratolaunch could help further global space missions. However, it is not clear as to what Stratolaunch would help launch into space.
“The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want the first flight to be. And for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted which is again exactly what we want. Again, a tribute to all the folks here at Scaled who designed the airplane, then built it to design and it flew much as we expected,” stated Evan Thomas who is a former F-16 pilot having held high positions in the US Air Force.
There is an official video of the take-off, of Stratolaunch, you could check out this interesting visual here.