Giant aircraft with world's longest wingspan takes first-ever flight

LOS ANGELES (AP) A giant aircraft with the world's longest wingspan took off from California Saturday morning and flew 2 ½ hours, achieving a maximum speed of 189 mph.

A company press release said the twin-fuselage jet hit altitudes up to 17,000 feet above the Mojave Desert while performance and handling qualities were evaluated.

Founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, Stratolaunch is vying to be a contender in the satellite launch market.

The aircraft is designed to release rockets attached to the center of its enormous wing, which stretches 385 feet from tip to tip.

Floyd said in a teleconference briefing that it was amazing to "watch this majestic bird take flight" and he whispered a "thank-you" to Allen, who died in October 2018.

Stratolaunch recently dropped plans to develop its own line of rockets and will focus on launching Northrop Grumman's Pegasus XL.


 

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