World's largest plane makes first flight

The world's largest airplane built by the late Paul Allen's company Stratolaunch Systems makes its first test flight in Mojave

The world's largest airplane built by the late Paul Allen's company Stratolaunch Systems makes its first test flight in Mojave

The world's largest aircraft completed its first flight test on Saturday, achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour (302.4 km per hour).

With a wing tip to wing tip length of 385 feet (117 meters), the dual fuselage Stratolaunch is about as wide as a football field is long.

The grand plan: Eventually, the hope is that the plane will be able to fly about two or three times higher than commercial jets, before it releases satellites into orbit.

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The test took place at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California and was a sigh of relief for the company which recently laid off more 50 employees due to financial challenges in the company. Stratolaunch was founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011 to develop the large carrier airplane as a flying launch pad for orbital-class rockets.

"What a fantastic first flight", Stratolaunch Chief Executive Officer Jean Floyd said in a statement posted to the company's website. However, when it comes to planes, it appears the industry is moving in the opposite direction as they are not only trying to fit more passengers into planes for long-distance flights but now also creating massive planes in which to launch rockets from. "We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today's flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman's Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port". These vehicles can then be launched to space from Stratolaunch.

If successful, it will "enable airline-style access to space that is convenient, affordable and routine", Stratolaunch explained. "The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved".

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