'To infinity and beyond!' - Toy story's Buzzlight year's iconic dream to fly to the edge of space and beyond became a reality on Saturday when Stratolaunch - the aerospace company founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen - launched the world's biggest airplane in the air for its first test flight.
Stratolaunch announced the successful first flight of the aircraft -'Roc', nicknamed after a giant mythical bird, on Twitter:
The twin-fuselage plane (has two main bodies fused together to get higher wingspan), which incorporates parts from two Boeing 747 jumbo jets and has a world-record wingspan of 385 feet, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California for a flight that lasted two and a half hours.
Stratolaunch has been working on Roc for seven years with its partner Scaled Composites based in Mojave and aims to utilize the airplane for orbital-class rockets. Officials released a statement about the iconic flight which read:
"Stratolaunch’s plane took off at 6:58 a.m. PT and went through a series of in-flight maneuvers, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, steady heading side slips and simulated landing approach exercises. It reached a maximum speed of 189 mph and a maximum altitude of 17,000 feet."
A stunning video of the flight was released:
Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd described in a press briefing on Sunday, how the launch was the dream of the founder -the late Paul Allen and wished he was there to see the 'majestic bird take off'.
“It was an emotional moment to personally watch this majestic bird take flight. To see Paul Allen’s dream come to life in front of my very eyes was truly inspiring and incredibly satisfying to me. I had imagined this moment for years, but I never imagined the experience without Paul standing next to me. Even though he wasn’t there today as the plane lifted gracefully from the runway, I did whisper a ‘thank you’ to Paul for allowing me to be part of this remarkable achievement," he said.
Eminent Space scientist- Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate remembered Paul Allen's memory tweeting: