The world’s largest airplane – a Stratolaunch behemoth with two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines – has completed its first test flight in California.
The mega jet successfully did its maiden voyage over the Mojave Desert recently.
Stratolaunch behemoth is designed to carry into space, and drop, a rocket that would in turn ignite to deploy satellites.
It is expected to provide a more flexible way to deploy satellites than vertical takeoff rockets because this way all you need is a long runway for takeoff.
It was developed by Scaled Composites, an engineering company.
The aircraft is very big as its wing span is longer than a football field, or about 1.5 times that of an Airbus A380.
Specially, the wingspan is 117 meters; that of an Airbus A380 is just under 80.
The airplane flew for about two and a half hours, according to the Stratolaunch.
Up to now, it had just completed its tests on the ground.
It hit a top speed of 304 kilometers per hour (189 mph) and reached an altitude of 17,000 feet, or 5,182 meters.
“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,” he further added.
Stratolaunch was sponsored by Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft as a way to get into the market for launching small satellites, but Allen died in October of last year so the future of the company is uncertain.