The Giant Stratolaunch Airplane with a wings of 117 meters and a double fuselage successfully completed its first flight, a duration of 150 minutes.
On Saturday was the tests of the largest plane today. The mass of the aircraft is 226.8 tons, and its fuselaces that make it similar to the catamaran have a length of 72.5 m. It is equipped with engines of the same type as Boeing 747 and is able to take off with a maximum weight of almost 590 tons. However, For its dimensions, a giant can develop a speed of no more than 304 km / h.
The aircraft is designed to launch rockets from the air at an altitude of 10.7 km, where after resetting they start their engines and are already on their own lifting orbit. Although it is able to carry up to three launch-loaded missiles under the center of the wing, but this particular flight passed without them. The advantages of using such launch systems are able to use various airports and the lack of need for stationary platforms, dependent on weather and local air traffic.
StratoLaunch Systems conducted tests over Mojave desert in California. During the test flight, the aircraft rose to a height of 5.2 km and developed the maximum speed. According to the test pilot and designers, all systems «worked as a clock».
Previously, the company also planned to engage in the development of his own complex of missiles, but due to the death of one of its founders, refused to refuse to move. However, Stratolaunch has already concluded a contract with Northrop Grumman, which intends to use a catamaran aircraft to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space.
Recall that the group of companies led by Rolls-Royce plans to build by 2020