On Saturday morning, the world’s biggest airplane took flight for the first time ever. Built by, Stratolaunch, a rocket launch company. The 500,000-pound plane with a 385-foot wingspan lifted off shortly after 10 AM ET from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. For the aircraft, it was a critical first test flight designed to launch rockets into orbit from the air.
The plane safely landed after the inaugural flight lasted for 150 minutes, according to the company. An altitude of 35,000 feet can be reached by the dual-fuselage Stratolaunch which it was designed to fly, where it can drop rockets that ignite their engines and boost themselves into orbit around the planet.
Northrop Grumman, the company has already signed at least its one customer, which plans to use Stratolaunch to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space. Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said
“It was an emotional moment for me, personally, to watch this majestic bird take flight,
The biggest airplane performed according to the expectations, reaching a maximum speed of 175 miles per hour and a peak altitude of 15,000 feet. Test pilot Evan Thomas said :
The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want a first flight to be,It flew very much like we had simulated and like we predicted,” According to Stratolaunch, the plane’s systems “ran like a watch” and that the aircraft landed “on the mark” after a few low passes.
According to the reports, the company had planned to build a whole suite of rockets, including a space plane. The death of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who started Stratolaunch in 2011, caused changes in plans. Floyd said:
“Without a doubt, Allen would have been exceptionally proud to see his aircraft take flight,” said Floyd. “Even though he wasn’t there today, I did whisper a ‘thank you.’’
No questions were taken during the press call and Stratolaunch made no mention of what comes next for the aircraft. Over the last few years, a number of incremental tests were involved in today’s launch.