Technology

World’s largest plane “Scaled Composites Stratolaunch” makes first test flight

On Saturday, April 13, the world’s largest airplane that is a Stratolaunch behemoth with two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines, made its first ever test flight in California. The mega jet carried out its first journey over the Mojave desert.

Stratolaunch completes the first flight of the world’s largest airplane

It is basically designed to carry into space, and drop, a rocket that would in turn go up in flames to set up satellites. It is invented to deliver a more flexible method to deploy satellites than vertical take-off rockets for the reason that this method all you need is a long runway for take-off.

It was constructed by an engineering company called Scaled Composites. The aircraft is so big its wing width is lengthier than a football field, or roughly 1.5 times that of an Airbus A380. Specially, the wing span is 117 meters; that of an Airbus A380 is just beneath 80.


The plane took its first flight on Saturday for around two and a half hours, Stratolaunch said. In the meantime, it had just carried out tests on the ground. The plane hit a highest speed of 304 kilometres per hour (189 mph) and reached the height of 17,000 feet, or 5,182 meters.

World’s largest plane that can deploy satellites takes flight for 1st time

Jean Floyd, who is the CEO of Stratolaunch said, “What a fantastic first flight.” He further added, “Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground-launched systems.”

Stratolaunch was financed by Paul Allen, who is a co-founder of Microsoft as an approach to get into the market for introducing small satellites. But meanwhile, Allen died last year in the month of October so the future of the company is indeterminate.

About Scaled Composites Stratolaunch

General Features

Length: 238 ft (73 m)

Wingspan: 385 ft (117 m)

Height: 50 ft (15 m)

Empty weight: 500,000 lb (226,796 kg)

Gross weight: 750,000 lb (340,194 kg) with no external payload

Max take-off weight: 1,300,000 lb (589,670 kg)

External payload: 550,000 lb (250,000 kg)

Power plant: 6 × Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofan, 56,750 lbf (252.4 kN) thrust each

Maximum speed: 461 kn; 853 km/h (530 mph)

Range: 1,000 nmi (1,151 mi; 1,852 km) radius

Ferry range: 2,500 nmi (2,877 mi; 4,630 km)

The Scaled Composites Stratolaunch is an aircraft constructed for Stratolaunch Systems by Scaled Composites in order to carry air launch to orbit rockets. It was declared in December 2011, rolled out in May 2017 and at last it was first flew on April 13, 2019.

The twin-fuselage design is the aircraft comprising with the biggest wingspan ever to fly, prevailing the Hughes H-4 Hercules. It can carry about 550,000 lb (250 t) shipments as well as it has a 1,300,000 lb (590 t) maximum take-off weight.