World’s Biggest Plane Goes Through Its First Runway Test
The Stratolaunch – the world’s largest plane has completed its first ever taxi on a runway. It reached a speed of 40 knots or 46 mph.
The aircraft has a twin-fuselage setup and a wingspan that is 385 feet from tip to tip. It is conducting taxi tests at the Mojave Air and Space Port, reports Popular Mechanics. Stratolaunch was first brought to the runway in December where it reached 25 knots. That, however, was not a taxi test, rather, a test to see if the vehicle was able to move using its own engines.
While seeing an aircraft of this size move at those speeds is impressive, the report says that its six engines will have to at least double its current speed if it hopes to take off and fly, beating gravity. Stratolaunch is being built to act as an air-launch vehicle platform. It will carry up to three rockets into the stratosphere and drop them after which they will ignite and go into orbit. Funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who believes that once it is ready, it will act as a cheap way to launch satellites into space.