A Massive Plane in Mojave

As mentioned in the Victorville Daily Press, June 9, 2017, out in Mojave, California, on May 31, 2017, the world’s “largest all-composite plane ever built” rolled out of its Mojave Air and Space Port hangar for the first time. Dubbed Stratolaunch, the dual-fuselage plane weighs approximately 250 tons unfueled, stands 50 feet tall and boasts a record-setting wingspan (385 feet) that’s 25 feet longer than a football field. It’s powered by six Boeing 747 engines. Stratolaunch belongs to billionaire Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder. In 2011, Allen founded Stratolaunch Systems with the goal of making “access to space more convenient, reliable and routine.” The purpose of Stratolaunch the plane is to launch satellite-carrying rockets into space at a reduced cost. Allen’s company partnered with the Virginia-based Orbital ATK, which will provide the rockets capable of carrying the 1,000-pound satellites. Stratolaunch will drop the rockets from about 35,000 feet. In the interim, Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said the company will conduct numerous tests at the Mojave hangar while keeping the plane on track for a launch demonstration in 2019.

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