World's Largest Airplane Rolls Out of Hanger for First Time
Billionaire Paul Allen's private spaceflight company Stratolaunch has just unveiled the world's biggest airplane: a massive carrier plane with a wingspan longer than an entire football field.
The colossal Stratolaunch carrier plane rolled out of its hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California, today (May 31) to undergo fueling tests. It's the first public look at the full craft —which is designed to launch rockets into orbit from the sky — since construction began.
"We're excited to announce that Stratolaunch aircraft has reached a major milestone in its journey toward providing convenient, reliable, and routine access to low-Earth orbit," Stratolaunch Systems Corp. CEO Jean Floyd said in a statement. "This marks the completion of the initial aircraft-construction phase and the beginning of the aircraft ground- and flight-testing phase."
The Stratolaunch carrier plane is designed to launch rockets into orbit from an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,100 meters). Initially, the plane will carry a single Pegasus XL rocket built by Orbital ATK, but the craft will eventually be able to carry up to three of those boosters simultaneously, Floyd said.
Stratolaunch Systems has been quietly designing and building the rocket-toting plane over the last few years.
It has the biggest wingspan of any aircraft ever built, coming in 385ft (117 meters), longer than an NFL field which is 360ft in length.
Aside from it’s unmatched wingspan, the aircraft is 238ft from nose to tail and stands 50ft high on it’s 28 wheels. This is the first time the public has got a look at the spaceplane and now work must begin on testing before its predicted maiden voyage in 2019.