How big an airplane have you witnessed? Stratolaunch is the era’s most massive aviation invention with a wingspan that measures a whooping 117m. The twin fuselage plane which was built as a flying pad to launch satellites into space made its first test journey on April 13 (Saturday) from Mojave Air & Space Port in California. Stratolaunch Systems, a company started by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011, tasted its victory after an extensive work that lasted nearly eight years.
Evan Thomas, the test pilot to captain this technically sauve aircraft said, “For the most part, the airplane flew as predicted which is again exactly what we want”. A number of successful tests proceeded by a smooth landing after a flying time of about 110 minutes is a great achievement in itself. The aim of this super-large plane is to reduce the waiting time of launching satellites into space as most of the spacecrafts are delayed because of the availability of very few launch stations in the U.S.
During the test flight, Stratolaunch reached a cruising altitude of 17,000 ft flying at a speed of 189 m/hr. With a giant structure spreading across an epic 100,000 sq. ft, the king-sized plane is yet to receive its formal approval and certification from the Federal Aviation Administration before being put to use. Though there are other airplanes that are longer in terms of ‘nose-to-tail’ length, this is definitely a prodigious airliner of the future as far as space research is concerned.