For the first time ever, world’s largest airplane made history as it took to the skies and completed its first successful flight.
Built by a rocket launch firm Stratolaunch, the 500,000-pound airplane was crowned as the world’s largest one with a 385 ft wingspan. The airplane, which is designed to launch rockets into orbit from air – and approach that will cut down cost of space missions, completed its critical first test flight, a first one globally.
According to the company, the inaugural flight that took off in California lasted for 150 minutes (2.5 hours) after which the behemoth airplane successfully and safely landed back to the ground. The plane hit an altitude of 17,000 ft with maximum speed of 180 mph, as per The Washington Post.
“It was an emotional moment for me, personally, to watch this majestic bird take flight,” expressed Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd.
— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) April 13, 2019
Stratolaunch is a dual-fuselage plane designed to fly at an altitude of 35,000 ft, where it will be able to drop as many as three rockets that will ignite their engines and boost themselves into orbit around Earth.
During this test flight, there was no rocket, but the firm has already signed up one customer, Northrop Grumman, which plans to use the plane to send Pegasus XL rocket to space, wrote The Verge.
Test pilot Evan Thomas said, “The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want a first flight to be.”
— D. Stamos/Helodriver (@SpacecoastPix) April 13, 2019