You are here: Home » International » News » Others
Business Standard

World's largest plane that can deploy satellites takes flight for 1st time

It is supposed 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

AFP | PTI  |  Washington 

world's largest plane
The world's largest airplane, built by the late Paul Allen's company Stratolaunch Systems, makes its first test flight in Mojave, California, US, April 13, 2019. Photo: Reuters

The world's largest airplane — a behemoth with two fuselages and six 747 engines — has made its first test flight in

The mega jet carried out its maiden voyage over the on Saturday.

It is designed to carry into space, and drop, a rocket that would, in turn, ignite to deploy satellites.

It is supposed 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 built by an engineering company called The is so big its wing span is longer than a football field, or about 1.5 times that of an A380.

Specifically, the wing span is 117 meters; that of an A380 is just under 80. The flew Saturday for about two and a half hours, said. Until now, it had just carried out 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, of

"Today's flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground-launched systems," he added.

Stratolaunch was financed by Paul Allen, a of 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.

First Published: Sun, April 14 2019. 05:15 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU