World's largest aircraft flies over California for the first time
MOJAVE DESERT, CALIFORNIA — The Stratolaunch aircraft flew over the Mojave Desert for more than two hours on Saturday for the first time, Reuters reports.
The Stratolaunch plane is made up of two twin fuselages and massive wings.
It is propelled by six Boeing 747 engines.
The aircraft is wider than a football field due to its 117-meter wingspan.
The plane reached speeds of up to 189 miles per hour and an altitude of 17,000 feet during its first flight, according to the New York Times.
The aircraft is designed to carry rockets weighing up to 500,000 pounds into space and release them once it reaches 35,000 feet in altitude, Reuters reports.
According to a Stratolaunch press release, the aircraft's reinforced center wing would be able to support multiple launch vehicles such as satellites and other payloads.
According to the press release, the airplane would be an affordable alternative for deploying objects into space, with their mission to "make access to orbit as routine as catching a commercial airline flight."
The company plans to launch its first rocket into space in 2020, at the earliest, according to Reuters.