After years of wait, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen finally showed off the world's biggest aircraft today. Originally announced in 2011, Stratolaunch was pulled out of the hanger today for the first time. The plane was scheduled to have its first flight in 2016 but technical difficulties have led to delays. Here is the fact sheet for the monstrous airplane —
- Stratolaunch has a 117.3 metre wingspan. That's the length of almost 38 and a half cricket pitches.
- The previous record for the longest wingspan, at 97.536 metres, was held by an aircraft called Space Goose.
- The plane's height from the ground to the vertical tail is 15.24 metres. Almost as tall as a four-storey building.
- It is powered by six Pratt & Whitney engines that are typically used in Boeing 747s.
- It weighs 226,796.185 kg without fuel
- It can carry payloads of up to 249,476 kg.
- The company is planning to launch Orbital's rocket, Pegasus XL, by flying it into the low earth orbit.
- The aircraft has an operation range of 2,000 nautical miles or 3,704 km.
- Today was the aircraft's first fuel test. With subsequent flights and minor modifications, the company is planning to hold Stratolauncher's first flight sometime in 2019.