The world’s largest plane Stratolaunch Roc measures 117 meters from one end of its wings to the other, has six turbines, and made its second test flight two years after the first one.
The largest plane in the world made its second test flight in the Mojave desert, in southern California, on Thursday, April 29, two years after having flown for the first time.
The aircraft of the American aerospace company Stratolaunch, whose official name is Model 351, has six engines and its wings spread 117 meters (that is, the plane measures more than a football field in width).
After this airplane, the second-largest airplane in history was the Hughes H-4 Hercules, an eight-engine prototype built after World War II; its wings spread 97.5 meters. For its part, the Antonov An-225 Mriya is a Russian cargo plane whose wingspan is 88.4 meters, while the Airbus A380-800 is the largest passenger plane, measuring 79.8 meters.
The Stratolaunch took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port, in southern California, according to the company Twitter account, and had a successful three-hour flight mission.
The maiden test flight of the gigantic Stratolaunch aircraft took place two years ago, on April 13, 2019, and was successfully completed as well.
The twin-fuselage aircraft was developed by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, who died a few months before the aircraft’s first flight.
Originally, the world’s largest plane was designed to help put payloads into orbit and launch rockets into space in flight, and for now, the focus of the plane is on hypersonic research and testing – that is, flights at speeds of at least five times the speed of sound. Stratolaunch describes the plane as a launchpad for hypersonic and aerospace vehicles, and this second test flight maintains the direction of the company after it changed its owners.
The innovative twin-fuselage, the high-wing design allows vehicle launch from the aircraft’s centerline and under the wing for a much safer deployment. The reinforced center wing provides lift, stability and can support multiple launch vehicles, providing access to any inclination for multiple payloads.
Likewise, the six Boeing 747 engines allow a payload capacity of more than 225,000 kilograms.
Another Stratolaunch tweet shows the impressive plane in the air.
The company also has other vehicles. The Stratolaunch Talon-A is a high-speed craft built for hypersonic research, experiments, and operational missions; and the Black Ice, which is a reusable spacecraft that allows advanced in-orbit and cargo-return capabilities and even has a variant in its design to transport crew.