A giant aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan has landed after its first ever flight
14 April, 2019, 15:57
It is a goal for the company to soon see the large aircraft carry 250-tonne rocket ships loaded with satellites to a height of 35,000 feet, with further hopes to carry the aircraft and its satellite cargo into space.
Following years of development, the six-engine and dual-fuselage jet finally took off for the first time ever from Mojave Air and Space Port in California, USA, at 6:58 am local time.
The test flight on Saturday enabled the Stratolaunch test team to conduct standard aircraft testing exercises. The plane flew for two and a half hours before landing back in Mojave, reaching a top speed of 278 kilometers per hour and altitude of 4,570 meters.
The company said the jet hit altitudes of up to 17,000 feet above the Mojave Desert while performance and handling qualities were evaluated.
Built by the USA company Stratolaunch, it is created to launch rockets from the air.
After Allen's death in October, Stratolaunch dropped plans to develop its own rocket engine and a family of launch vehicles, focusing instead on getting the giant plane airborne and launching Northrop Grumman's proven Pegasus XL.
Regarding initial results from Saturday's test flight, Stratolaunch said the plane performed a variety of flight control maneuvers to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips.
"It was overall fantastic". There, pilots will launch the rocket from the plane on a trajectory toward space.
Although the cost of the airplane hasn't been made public, other details are known. It features six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines, a similar type to those being used on the Airbus A300, Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 767.
It is created to carry into space, and drop, a rocket that would in turn ignite to deploy satellites. Rather, Stratolaunch could take off from various runways and then fly to a spot with good weather.
The trial has been spotted by photographers at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Stratolaunch's first flight presents the company with a new set of hoops to jump through before it can start doing business.
The inaugural flight is expected to last a few hours.
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