In early 2019, Stratolaunch Systemsabandoned a number of their projects due to the death of one of its founders, Paul Allen. At the same time, she continued to work on one of her most ambitious projects — a huge carrier aircraft for launching rockets into near-earth orbit. Even then we wrote that he was almost ready for his flight, and it finally happened - on April 13 the aircraft took off into the sky and proved its efficiency and reliability.
Previously, the aircraft carrier made only speed"Jogging" on the runway, reaching the speed of separation of the chassis from the ground. Now he has successfully completed a full-fledged flight, having started from an airfield in the Mojave Desert. It really took a lot of space to take off - the wingspan of the vehicle reached 117.3 meters, which makes it the largest aircraft in the world. The mass of the aircraft is also huge and reaches 226.8 tons, and the maximum take-off weight is 589.7 tons.
The first flight took place without missiles, howeverIt is assumed that the aircraft will be able to lift up to three Pegasus XL missiles. The possibility of raising three at once should significantly reduce the cost of launches. Previously, the company was developing its own MLV and MLV Heavy rockets to deliver cargo to orbit, but the process had to be stopped due to the death of the aforementioned Paul Allen.
The world’s largest airplane takes flight! @Stratolaunch @NASASpaceflight #stratolaunch pic.twitter.com/jmLs3mpztn
- Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) April 13, 2019</ p>
Preparation for this flight has been going on for several years.in a row - it was important for the company to test the engine and deployment system. Fortunately, everything was fine with them, and this flight was the main evidence of their efficiency.
How do you like the first flight of the largest aircraft? What do you think, how effective will it be for launching rockets into Earth orbit? Share your answers in the comments, or in our Telegram-chat.