Giant Stratolaunch aircraft lands initial flight

Stratolaunch pops a wheelie during January's high-speed taxi test

The behemoth, twin-fuselage Stratolaunch jet lifted off from Mojave Air and Space Port and climbed into the desert sky 70 miles north of Los Angeles.

The aircraft, the largest in the world by wingspan, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 9:58 a.m.

The Stratolaunch, the world's largest aircraft that just so happens to be created to "enable airline-style access to space", successfully took flight for the first time in the Mojave Desert on April 13.

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, successfully flew for the first time this morning in a two and a half hour test flight over the Mojave desert.

The goal for Stratolaunch is to provide an alternative launch platform for satellites other than rockets like SpaceX's Falcon 9 or SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket-which had its first successful test flight this week as well.

Stratolaunch Systems is owned by Vulcan, which manages the estate of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died in October after complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today's historic achievement", Jody Allen, the trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust, is quoted as saying in a press release announcing the launch.

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The pilot Evan Thomas told reporters the experience was "fantastic" and that "for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted".

The jet is powered by the same type of engines used by Boeing 747s and is created to take off at a maximum weight 589,676 kilograms.

Stratolaunch has a wingspan of 386 feet (118 m) and is 26 feet (8 m) long. Its twin fuselages - sort of the airplane equivalent of a catamaran - are 238 feet long.

Stratolaunch Systems Corp. chief executive Jean Floyd said Saturday the aircraft made a "spectacular" landing that was on the mark.

Powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines, it is s treat to the eyes Stratolaunch takes off with 28-wheel landing gear.

The satellites that the Stratolaunch might launch in low Earth orbit in the future can provide communications and broadband internet connectivity to remote areas on the ground, according to CNN.



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