News — 29.07.19

April saw the first flight of the world’s largest all-composite aircraft, the Stratolaunch, over the Mojave Desert in the USA. Built by Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, it has a dual fuselage design and a wingspan longer than an American football field.

The aircraft achieved a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour during the two and half hour flight at altitudes up to 17,000 feet, while the test team conducted standard aircraft testing exercises.

The vast Stratolaunch aircraft is a mobile launch platform designed to enable airline-style access to space. The company’s unique air-launch system will use the world’s largest aircraft to deploy launch vehicles that will carry satellites to multiple orbits and inclinations on a single mission. The reinforced centre wing can support multiple launch vehicles, weighing up to a total of 500,000 pounds (226,800kg).

“What a fantastic first flight,” said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch. “Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems. We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today’s flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman’s Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port.”