Saturday morning was a critical moment for the history of aviation. The world’s largest airplane took flight for the first time. The plane was built by Stratolaunch, which is a rocket launch company. The plane weighs 500,000 pounds and has a 385-foot wingspan.
The lift-off took place at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California and the flight lasted 150 minutes. It was an emotional moment for me, personally, to watch this majestic bird take flight,” declared Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd.
The place can fly to a 35,000 feet altitude, and up there it can drop rockets in order to ignite engines, so they are boosted to the orbit. No rockets were used for the test flight. However, the Stratolaunch plane already has a customer. Northrop Grumman plans to send the Pegasus XL rocket into space with the help of the aircraft.
The largest airplane in the world, Stratolaunch plane, has just completed a new test flight
The first flight proved that the aircraft would be able to handle all its future missions. “The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want a first flight to be,” said test pilot Evan Thomas. It flew very much as we had simulated and as we predicted.”
Stratolaunch was started back in 2011 by Paul Allen, who is also the Microsoft co-founder. Allen died recently, which made the company think about him during the flight of this plane. “Without a doubt, he would have been exceptionally proud to see his aircraft take flight,” said Floyd. “Even though he wasn’t there today, I did whisper a ‘thank you.’’
The aircraft went through numerous tests in the past, including an engine test which took place in 2017, as well as an initial rollout. Stratolaunch did not share their future plans for the aircraft.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.