Microsoft Co-Founder, Paul Allen Launches World’s Largest Airplane Named ‘Stratolaunch’

Stratolaunch is designed to release rockets that will carry satellites into space.


Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen on Wednesday launched the twin-fuselage aircraft named Stratolaunch.

Stratolaunch is designed to release rockets that will carry satellites into space.

It has a 385-foot wingspan, features six engines used by the Boeing 747, stands 50 feet tall and can carry more than 500,000 pounds of payload with its 28 wheels.

The twin-fuselage aircraft was pulled out of its Mojave Air and Space Port hangar in California to begin fueling tests which is the first of many ground tests.

According to Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch’s chief executive officer, the goal is to have a launch demonstration as early as 2019.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be actively conducting ground and flight line testing at the Mojave Air and Space Port,” Floyd said in a statement.

“This is a first-of-its-kind aircraft, so we’re going to be diligent throughout testing and continue to prioritise the safety of our pilots, crew and staff.”

While the Stratolaunch has the biggest wingspan, the Antonov An-225 is longer.

When business mogul Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” lumbered into the air in 1947, the H-4 had an enormous wingspan of 320 feet.

Allen, owner of the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, said:

“Stratolaunch will take off from a runway. It will fly to the approximate cruising altitude of a commercial airliner before launching a launch vehicle.

“As the launch vehicle rockets into orbit, Stratolaunch will fly back to a runway landing for reloading, refueling and reuse,” Allen says.

Allen’s Vulcan Aerospace worked with aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan’s company, Scaled Composites, on the ambitious project.

The duo collaborated on the launch of SpaceShipOne in 2004.

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