World's largest plane makes first test flight

Allen, today successfully completed the first flight of the world's largest all-composite aircraft, the Stratolaunch.

It was not long before Paul Allen, founder of Stratolaunch, could see the first flight of the incredible aircraft created by his company, the giant of two fuselages that is considered by some the largest airplane in the world.

During the flight, the Stratolaunch aircraft reached a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour (304 kilometers) and altitude of 17,000 feet (5,182 meters).

CEO Jean Floyd said the aircraft made a "spectacular" landing, adding it was fantastic to "watch this majestic bird take flight". "We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today's flight crew, our partners at Northup Grumman's Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port".

In simple terms, the Stratolaunch aircraft is a giant flying launch pad, created to hurtle satellites into low Earth orbit. Stratolaunch, which was founded by Allen, is vying to be a contender in the market for air-launching small satellites. Worked by Stratolaunch, the organization set up by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011, the airplane is meant to go about as a flying platform for satellites.

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But Allen died in October of a year ago so the future of the company is uncertain. His specialties in test flight include aviation and test safety, aircraft stability and control testing and operational leadership of flight test teams. "I honestly could not have hoped for more on a first flight, especially of an airplane of this complexity and this uniqueness".

A commercial Boeing 747's gross weight is 735,000 pounds with a wingspan of 195 feet and a ceiling of 45,000 feet, according to Boeing. At an altitude of 35,000ft, the rockets would be released, ignite their engines and soar into space.

The plane built by Stratolaunch has two fuselages and a wingspan of 117 metres.

Stratolaunch has a wingspan of 386 feet (118 m) and is 26 feet (8 m) long.

Speaking to the media soon after the touchdown, Evan said, the successful flight was the result of the blood, sweat and tears of all the men and women of Stratolaunch who worked tirelessly. We got running down the runway, did our rotation and the airplane very nicely and smoothly rotated.

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