The Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch aircraft developed by Stratolaunch Systems has now successfully completed its first flight. It is the largest aircraft in the world by wingspan, measuring an amazing 385 feet, making it longer than an American football field.
The aircraft flew for two and a half hours, reaching an altitude of over 4500 meters. The company announced that the plane had fulfilled all of the test parameters, making it a resounding success. The plane is intended to carry rockets launched from the air onto orbit. This is excellent news for the ambitious corporation, which has struggled since the last few months, in light of the sudden demise of its founder and chief financier, Paul Allen.
The Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch works by carrying a rocket to high altitudes and releasing it, after which the rocket’s engines would fire up to carry its payload into orbit. Although untested, such a technique of launching a rocket would reduce the size, fuel and thrust requirements common for conventional rockets.
Space is a rapidly emerging market that has numerous tech corporations excited. What was once the domain of government agencies has now become a hotly contested market for which various private companies are competing. SpaceX, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance are some of the top companies that are vying for launch contracts from governmental space agencies.
The vastness of space holds many opportunities and ambitious corporations are wasting no time in trying to carve their own slice of the pie.