The world’s biggest airplane made its first test flight last week over the Mojave Desert in California, United States.
The flight lasted two and a half hours, reaching a top speed of 304 kilometers per hour, and an altitude of more than 5,100 meters.
The plane, Stratolaunch, has huge six-engines and a wingspan that is larger than any aircraft in the world with 28 wheels to support its weight.
The 117 meter-long aircraft can carry a total weight of nearly 600,000 kilograms.
“The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want the first flight to be. And for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted, which is again exactly what we want,” Test pilot Evan Thomas stated.
Stratolaunch Systems was created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011 which was originally aimed to launch rockets into space, but Allen died in October 2018 without seeing the success that his innovation has achieved.
“It was an emotional moment for me to personally watch this majestic bird take flight and to see Paul Allen’s dream come to life in front of my very eyes. I had imagined this moment for years, but I’d never imagined the experience without Paul standing next to me,” CEO of Stratolaunch Systems Jean Floyd told reporters.
The satellite-carrying launch vehicles will be connected to the bottom of the plane and once it can reach a height of about 10,000 meters, the rockets would be released into space. That would reduce cost for satellite companies, cut wait times between rocket launches and is able to avoid bad weather areas.