Stratolaunch Systems: maiden flight of the largest aircraft in the world
Powered by 6 motors it will allow to put satellites in orbit -VIDEO
After a series of ground tests, the Stratolaunch Model 351 made its first flight over the week-end. The giant plane designed by the engineers of Stratolaunch Systems and Scaled Composites, the companies founded by Paul Allen, took off Saturday from the Mojave spaceport, in California, managing to reach an altitude of 17,000 feet (5182 meters) reaching a speed of 304 km/h before landing again after two hours. An important step forward for the Stratolaunch that was designed to transport in space and unhook a carrier rocket, in which several satellites can be crammed into earth orbit.
To do this it was necessary to build a plane with enormous dimensions, so much so that its wingspan is greater than one and a half times that of an Airbus A-380 reaching 117 meters by virtue of the fact that it has two fuselages. The propulsion, instead, is entrusted to 6 Pratt & Whitney PW-4000 engines, that is the same ones that feed the Boeing B-747. For the president of the company Jean Floyd it was a "fantastic moment that will allow us to continue working to be able to offer an alternative to the launch of rockets in the future"; research and development which, therefore, will continue despite the death -last October- of Paul Allen, who seriously questioned the financial future of Stratolaunch Systems.
Below, the video of the first flight:
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