Is Stratolaunch real?
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen established Stratolaunch in 2011 with the idea that Roc would be used to launch satellites in midair.
Stratolaunch is developing its own family of hypersonic vehicles, including a reusable 28-foot-long (8.5 m) craft called Talon-A, which will be the first to fly with Roc.
The flight met all of the company’s objectives, including testing the retraction and extension of the landing gear on the left fuselage. The successful flight “meant we were one step closer to hypersonic flight”.
In October 2016, it was announced that “multiple” Pegasus XL rockets would be used by Stratolaunch.
The plane made its first public appearance last year. And has since moved through a series of successful testing phases ahead of a first flight planned for late 2019 or early 2020.
The aircraft flew for the first time on April 13, 2019, and shortly thereafter, the company announced it would halt the development of its air-launched family of launch vehicles following the death of Stratolaunch founder Paul Allen in October 2018.
The company ceased operations the next month and placed all company assets, including the aircraft, for sale for US$400 million by June 2019.
Cerberus Capital Management acquired Stratolaunch Systems, including the Stratolaunch aircraft, in October 2019.
Stratolaunch announced in December 2019 that it would now be focusing on offering high-speed flight test services.
Stratolaunch Plane design
Stratolaunch describes the carrier aircraft as “a revolutionary launchpad for hypersonic and aerospace vehicles”.
It’s designed to carry launch vehicles that can travel at hypersonic speeds, far exceeding the speed of sound.
The reusable Talon-A vehicle under development could reach Mach 6.
The double-bodied stratolaunch plane boasts the widest wingspan in the world at 385 feet (117 meters). Is one step closer to the sky following recent runway tests.
The world’s largest plane recently completed a second taxi test reaching a speed of 46mph (74 km/h) at the Mojave Air and spaceport in Mojave, California.
stratolaunch weighs about 500,000 lbs (227,000 kilograms) and can carry a payload of up to 550,000 lbs. (250,000 kg).
According to the company’s website, the massive aircraft will transport rocket launchers and satellites bound for low earth orbit.
Deploying rockets and satellites from a moving aircraft such as stratolaunch could reduce the risk of launch cancellations or delays from bad weather.
The new video shows the enormous aircraft speeding down the runway powered by six Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines.
No specific date has been announced for the next stage of testing. But when the engineering team does eventually get the stratolaunch into the air it will be the largest plane to ever take flight.
The colossal Stratolaunch captures attention for many reasons. With a wingspan of 385 feet and weighing 590 tonnes, the size of this plane is eye-catching.
But it also has other attention-getting design features, including two fuselages and two cockpits.
In the Stratolaunch, the pilot and co-pilot sit in the cockpit in the right fuselage to fly the aircraft.
The left fuselage cockpit is unpressurized, and it contains the flight data systems. In reality, the left fuselage cockpit is a dummy cockpit as it doesn’t have any flight control systems.
The dummy left fuselage cockpit is one of the eccentricities of the Stratolaunch, but the Stratolaunch is a reasonably eccentric plane.