Stratolaunch moves towards first flight
Stratolaunch Systems rolled out its huge ‘space plane’ for the next round of pre-flight tests on August 10 at Mojave Air & Space Port in California.
Stratolaunch is the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan (385 feet) and is the largest all-composite plane ever built. It is expected to make its first test flight later this year but must first undertake five taxi tests. Two have already taken place.
While the latest test was planned for last weekend, it didn’t end up happening.
On Twitter, Stratolaunch CEO, Jean Floyd, said: “We didn’t make it to the main runway for taxi testing this weekend. Successfully completed fuelling ops, engine runs, and communications testing. We’ll be outside again very soon.”
What is Stratolaunch?
Stratolaunch, which describes itself as an “air-launch platform”, is aiming to make access to space “more convenient, reliable and routine”.
“We believe that normalising access to low Earth orbit (LEO) has the potential to redefine our lives by creating more opportunities for commercial, philanthropic and governmental organisations to collect rich and actionable data and drive advancements in science, research and technology from space,” the company’s website says.
The aircraft uses six Boeing 747 engines for a payload capacity of over 500,000 lbs and an operational range of approximately 2,000 nautical miles.
The company says it is aiming for the aircraft to be fully operational by the end of this decade.