It has a wingspan wider than the length of a rugby or soccer field and it looks like something straight out of James Bond.
Introducing the “Stratolaunch”:
· An aircraft that weighs about 500,000 pounds;
· Has the wingspan of approx. 118m;
· Contains six Boeing 747 engines; and
· Is the largest plane in the world.
Some introduction, right? Stratolaunch, is a company that was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011. Allen had always been obsessed with rockets as a child and co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975.
“The plane is designed to launch rockets into space from the air, saving jet fuel compared to the process of launching them from the ground and vastly reducing the cost of sending cargo into space”
The Stratolaunch recently left its hangar in the California desert for the first time, for “aircraft fuelling tests” , and we have the pictures!
Its first launch is expected as early as 2019.
Stratolaunch isn’t the only company to attempt launching rockets from planes. Other tech entrepreneurs including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are also seeking to reduce the cost of space travel, whilst Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit had also announced plans to attempt to launch rockets from a Boeing 747 in 2015. Stratolaunch, however may be the first to demonstrate success! Watch this space.
Images Sourced From: Stratolaunch