The world's largest all-composite aircraft Stratolaunch, which has the capability to several launch vehicles carrying satellites in space in a single mission, on Sunday successfully completed its maiden test-flight over the Mojave desert in the United States.
On its debut flight, the twin-fuselage six-engine jet flew up over Mojave desert.
The aircraft built by Stratolaunch is created to act as a flying launch pad for satellites. "We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today's flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman's Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port".
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp. chief executive Jean Floyd said Saturday the aircraft made a "spectacular" landing that was on the mark. Pacific time (3pm United Kingdom time) and stayed in the air for more than two hours before landing safely back at the Mojave Air and Space Port, where a crowd of hundreds of people cheered. The aircraft has a world-record wingspan of 385 feet, and is 238 feet long.
The jet flew for two and a half hours, achieving a maximum speed of 304 kilometres per hour and altitudes up to 17,000 feet (5,181 meters), the company said. The dual-fuselage Stratolaunch is created to fly at an altitude of 35,000 feet, where it can drop rockets that ignite their engines and boost themselves into orbit around the planet.
Stratolaunch was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away earlier this year. "Really, for a first flight, it was spot on". "It's so huge, it seems like it shouldn't be able to fly", Jack Beyer, an aerospace and launch photographer for NASASpaceFlight.com, told CNN on Thursday. It must theoretically be used to carry and drop at altitude a small rocket that will then light its engine, and will propel to space to place satellites in orbit.
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During the first phase of the flight, Stratolaunch tested the airplane's handling qualities. "It's the same reason why people tune in each year to watch the Apple keynotes".
In other words, this isn't your typical airplane.
Powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines, it is s treat to the eyes Stratolaunch takes off with 28-wheel landing gear. Its LauncherOne service wants to fling rockets carrying satellites into orbit from a customized Boeing 747-400 - which, unlike Stratolaunch, is a proven aircraft.
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