Last Saturday morning, the Stratolaunch aircraft took to the skies for its first test flight. This mega aircraft comprises a twin fuselage, each measuring 72.5 metres long, and are held together by wings that stretch up to 117 metres – the largest wingspan of any aircraft in the world!
Powered by six Pratt and Whitney engines, the very ones used to power a Boeing 747 aircraft, the aircraft took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Los Angeles on Saturday at 7am (Los Angeles time). It flew for 2 ½ hours at an altitude of 17,000 feet at a maximum speed of 304 kilometres per hour.
The world’s largest aircraft was designed as a launch pad for satellites into low Earth orbit. The launch of the Stratolaunch gives the military and private companies more economical means of getting into space as it consumes less fuel compared to traditional rockets that are launched from Earth. The giant bird is expected to make its inaugural satellite launch next year.