Stratolaunch aims to launch rockets from midair into low-Earth orbit.

  • The Stratolaunch is the world's largest aircraft.
  • Its 117-metre wingspan is longer than a football field.
  • Since it was unveiled in June 2017, the Stratolaunch has undergone a series of tests before its first flight, which is planned for this year, Stratolaunch told GeekWire.
  • In January, the Stratolaunch YouTube page posted a video of runway tests that saw the aircraft reach a top speed of 220 km/h

The world's largest plane is so big that it needs two fuselages with separate cockpits.

It's called the Stratolaunch, and it's designed to launch rockets into space in what is known as low-Earth orbit, which means the spacecraft is between 159 and 1,931 km above the Earth's surface. (Most space flights, as well as satellites and the International Space Station, are in low-Earth orbit.) Paul Allen - the late founder of the company that makes the Stratolaunch, also called Stratolaunch, hoped to launch a rocket the size of a NASA space shuttle one day, according to the Washington Post.

Since it was unveiled in June 2017, the Stratolaunch has undergone a series of tests before its first flight, which is planned for this year, Stratolaunch told GeekWire. In January, the Stratolaunch YouTube page posted a video of runway tests that saw the aircraft reach a top speed of 220km/h.

Here's a look at the Stratolaunch, and why businesses might want to use it.


Stratolaunch was founded by the late Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft.


Allen's goal for the company and its namesake aircraft was to "provide convenient, reliable, and routine access to low-Earth orbit".


It will do so by launching rockets toward space from mid-air, which the company hopes will be less expensive than current commercial space-launch options.


That would be particularly useful for companies who want to send satellites into space. Allen wanted to eventually launch a rocket the size of a NASA space shuttle from the plane.


Its 117-metre wingspan makes it wider than a football field, and the largest airplane by wingspan.


The aircraft is 72-metre long, 15-metre tall, and has six high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines.


It weighs 226,796kg and needs 28 wheels between its two fuselages.

Stratolaunch aims to launch rockets from midair into low-Earth orbit.

The aircraft needs to perform a series of tests before it can take flight.


In January, the Stratolaunch YouTube page posted a video of runway tests that saw the aircraft reach a top speed of 220km/h.


The aircraft is set to take its first flight this year, Stratolaunch told GeekWire.

Source: GeekWire

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