In early 2019, the company Stratolaunch Systems declined from some of its projects because of the death of one of its co-founders Paul Allen. However, she continued to work on one of its most ambitious projects — a huge aircraft carrier for withdrawal of the missiles into orbit. Back then we wrote that he is almost ready for its flight, and it finally happened — April 13 aircraft soared into the sky and has proven its performance and reliability.
Previously, the aircraft carrier made only the speed that “runs” on the runway, reaching a speed of separation of the chassis from the ground. Now, however, he successfully made a full flight, starting from the airfield in the Mojave desert. Seats for take-off really needed a lot — the wing span of the device reaches 117,3 meters, making it the largest aircraft in the world. The mass of the aircraft is also huge and reaches 226,8 tons and a maximum takeoff weight 589,7 tons.
The first flight went without missiles, but the aircraft can lift up to three rockets, Pegasus XL. The possibility of raising three pieces should noticeably reduce the cost of launch. Previously, the company was developing its own missiles MLV and MLV Heavy to deliver cargo into orbit, but the process had to stop because of the death of the above-mentioned Paul Allen.
The world’s largest airplane takes flight! @Stratolaunch@NASASpaceflight#stratolaunchpic.twitter.com/jmLs3mpztn
— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) 13 APR 2019
The preparation for this flight was a few years in a row — it was important to test the engine and system deployment. Fortunately, with them all was well, and this flight was the main proof of their efficiency.
As you first flight of the biggest plane? How much do you think it will be effective for the withdrawal of the missiles into orbit? Share your answers in the comments or in our Telegram chat.