Stratolaunch, rocket-launching plane, took flight for the first time ever early Saturday morning and safely landed two hours later. The largest airplane ever created lifted off shortly after 10 a.m. from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California.
Exactly 45 minutes after the sun began to rise over the Mojave Desert, the plane took off for the very first time.
Built by rocket launch company Stratolaunch, the 500,000-pound aircraft with its record-breaking 385-foot wingspan, made its maiden flight that lasted for 150 minutes and then safely landed. It was a critical first test flight for the plane that is designed to launch rockets into orbit from the air.
It took eight years the company to build the behemoth. The plain arrives after the company Stratolaunch Systems laid off more than 50 employees and canceled efforts to develop its own rockets company. The change in plans reportedly comes after the death of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who started Stratolaunch Systems in 2011.
Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd told reporters on a press call that he thanks everybody to be so tolerant and patient over the years and wait for the company to get “this big bird off the ground.”
The company reported the aircraft hit speeds of 189 mph and heights of 17,000 feet during its 150-minute test flight, before landing safely at the Mojave Desert. However, by 2022, the twin-fuselage, six-engined, catamaran-style aircraft will fly to an altitude of 35,000 feet, where it can launch satellite-bearing rockets that ignite their engines and boost themselves into orbit around the planet. The company has already signed at least one customer which plans to use Stratolaunch to send its rocket into space.
Accoring to The Verge.