World’s biggest airplane, built for rockets

Aviation includes a brand-new number one in size, as a one-of-a-kind airplane completed its first test flight on Saturday morning above California’s Mojave desert.

The test makes the immense Stratolaunch the largest airplane inside the entire world to fly, using a wingspan measuring 385 feet — wider than a football field is usually long. The plane flew for 2½ hours over the Mojave at altitudes up to 17,000 feet, hitting a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour. With two fuselages as well as six Boeing 747 engines. Stratolaunch is usually built to launch rockets by the air.

Stratolaunch is usually an “air launch” system, meaning which the aircraft will carry rockets up to about 35,000 feet as well as then drop the rocket. One of the advantages of such a system, touted by Stratolaunch as well as Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, is usually which flying in as well as out of a traditional runway gives greater flexibility as well as, eventually, will allow for quick turnaround between launches.

The company has had various partnerships, as well as internal plans, for the rockets which Stratolaunch will carry. SpaceX was one of the company’s earliest partners however Stratolaunch later switched to a contract with Northrop Grumman-owned Orbital ATK to fly the Pegeasus XL rocket. Stratolaunch’s plan to develop its own fleet of rockets was scrapped in January.