World’s Largest Airplane Is One Step Closer To Takeoff

Posted: Mar 3 2018, 5:22am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

World’s Largest Airplane is One Step Closer to Takeoff
Credit: YouTube / Stratolaunch

The giant plane Stratolaunch hits 46 mph in latest test

The largest airplane in the world has recently reached a new milestone.

Named Stratolaunch, the plane has been able to achieve a top speed of 46 mph during its latest test run. The successful test is a milestone that brings the plane one step closer to launch.

The heavy, double bodied Stratolaunch stands 50 feet tall and weighs 500,000 pounds. It has a wingspan of 385 feet, which is longer than a football field. The plane is the brainchild of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and will be used to launch rockets into space.

The vast plane was unveiled in June 2017 and is expected to undergo a series of tests before its first flight in 2019. In December, the plane was first driven down the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Its purpose was to test the aircraft’s steering and stopping abilities. Earlier this week the aircraft took to the runway again to carry out a simple speed test.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be actively conducting ground and flight line testing at the Mojave Air and Space Port. This is a first-of-its-kind aircraft, so we're going to be diligent throughout testing and continue to prioritize the safety of our pilots, crew and staff." Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch's chief executive officer, said in a statement last year.

Once operational, Stratolaunh could play an important role in deploying satellites in low-Earth orbit.

“If they choose wisely, they could provide crew and light cargo services to LEO (low-Earth orbit) for considerably less than current prices, If they don’t, they will become a footnote to astronautical history for having built the world’s largest plane.” Space entrepreneur Gary Hudson told NBC News.

Hudson made reference to Howard Hughes' legendary H-4 "Spruce Goose," which has an enormous wingspan of 320 feet but it flew only once in 1947.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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