World's largest plane just flew for 1st time

Stratolaunch a giant six-engine aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, makes its historic first flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave Calif. Saturday

Stratolaunch a giant six-engine aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan, makes its historic first flight from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave Calif. Saturday

"It was an emotional moment for me, to personally watch this majestic bird take flight, to see Paul Allen's dream come to life in front of my very eyes", Mr Floyd told a teleconference briefing.

It flew for 150 minutes on debut outing.

Its 385 ft (117 m) wingspan is the length of an American football field.

The company, which was founded in 2011 by the late Paul Allen, has a contract with Northrop Grumman is use Stratolaunch to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space.

Created to send humans into space at a fraction of the cost of rockets, the white airplane called Roc took off shortly before 7 a.m.

The twin-fuselage six-engine jet flew up to 15,000 ft (4,572m) and reached speeds of about 170 miles per hour (274 km/h) on its maiden flight.

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"What a fantastic first flight", said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch. "Today's flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems", the company said.

Citing initial parameters, the officials said that the platform performed a variety of flight control manoeuvres to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing manoeuvres, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips. It comes just three months after Stratolaunch Systems, the company behind the effort, laid off "more than 50" employees and canceled efforts to develop its own rockets. The reinforced centre wing can support multiple launch vehicles, weighing up to a total of 500,000 pounds. That's because there'd be no need for ground launches of rockets.

It is created to carry into space, and drop, a rocket that would in turn ignite to deploy satellites. The test flight was meant to test the aircraft's performance and handling, eventually touching back down at MASP.

Speaking to the media soon after the touchdown, Evan said, the successful flight was the result of the blood, sweat and tears of all the men and women of Stratolaunch who worked tirelessly.

An audience cheers the first, historic flight of Stratolaunch. "It definitely was ready to fly and wanted to fly and climbed out quickly". They include the six-engine Antonov AN 225 cargo plane, which is 275.5 feet (84 meters) long, and the Boeing 747-8, which is just over 250 feet (76.3 meters) long.

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