New Stratolaunch Test Run Shows How World's Biggest Plane Will Change History
Typically when planes taxi on a runway, there is zero fanfare. Yeah, it's the miracle of flight but it's also Coach. But those are just commercial flights on standard planes-the Stratolaunch is a different breed of aircraft.
This impressive behemoth performed its first-ever taxi test recently in Mojave, California, and the cameras were rolling so that the rest of the world could witness the big day.
With a wingspan of 385 feet, the Stratolaunch is the world's biggest aircraft and the largest all-composite plane ever manufactured.
Built at the Mojave Air & Space Port by the Paul Allen Company, the mega-plane features two plane fuselages connected by a reinforced center wing and outfitted with six Boeing 747 engines, three on either side.
Its payload capacity is over 500,000 lbs, and its job in the near future (if all goes according to plan) will be to deliver three rockets into space, along with servicing satellites for companies like SpaceX and Terra Bella. Its "quick and precise satellite positioning" is touted as one of Stratolaunch's most revolutionary features.
During the taxi test, the plane reached speeds of 40 knots (46MPH).
This is not the first time Stratolaunch has touched the runway in Mojave. Back in December, it got a chance to feel the air around its wings during a test to see if the engines worked to move the plane without a tow.
Stratolaunch got up to 25 knots that day. The typical takeoff speed for a plane is between 130 and 150 knots, but according to Popular Mechanics, being made of lighter, composite materials could help Stratolaunch get off the ground without having to go that fast.
There are still a number of tests that have to be completed before Stratolaunch can live up to its name, but this is an important step in getting Stratolaunch off the ground and into the history books.