World's largest plane makes first flight over California

World's largest plane makes first flight over California

But now Stratolaunch has already signed at least one customer, Northrop Grumman, which plans to use the company's innovation to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space."It was an emotional moment for me, personally, to watch this majestic bird take flight", said Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd.

This aircraft is created to take entire space rockets to the stratosphere for launch.

Established by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Stratolaunch is vying to be a contender in the satellite launch market.

The mega jet called Roc, which has a wingspan the length of an American football field and is powered by six engines on a twin fuselage, carried out its maiden voyage over the Mojave desert shortly before 7am Pacific time (14:00 GMT).

Long-time space enthusiast and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen funded the stratolaunch project but unfortunately passed away last October.

The massive airplane was flown at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. The plane is the brainchild of Paul G. Allen's Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, and sports an impressive 385-foot wingspan.

Regarding initial results from Saturday's test flight, Stratolaunch said the plane performed a variety of flight control maneuvers to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips. "It's so huge, it seems like it shouldn't be able to fly", Jack Beyer, an aerospace and launch photographer for NASASpaceFlight.com, told CNN on Thursday.

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Allen founded Stratolaunch Systems in 2011, after funding the development of the experimental air-launched SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 became the first privately built manned rocket to reach space. "People want to see what's next".

The Stratolaunch aircraft emerged from its Mojave hangar for the first time in May 2017 and proceeded through ground tests, including taxiing and rolling down a runway at near-takeoff speeds.

Although the cost of the airplane hasn't been made public, other details are known.

The jet's landing gear has 28 wheels. Pacific time (3pm United Kingdom time) and stayed in the air for more than two hours before landing safely back at the Mojave Air and Space Port, where a crowd of hundreds of people cheered.

Stratolaunch's first flight presents the company with a new set of hoops to jump through before it can start doing business.

If all goes as planned, Stratolaunch said the plane is expected to launch its first satellite sometime next year.

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