Stratolaunch
Big Chungus

Watch the World’s Largest Aircraft Take Off in the Desert

byVictor Tangermann
Apr 29
Stratolaunch

This thing is a beast.

Lift Off

Aerospace company Stratolaunch has managed to get its Roc aircraft off the ground for the second time this morning.

The twin-fuselage aircraft, currently the jet with the world’s widest wingspan at a colossal 385 feet, took to the skies over the Mojave desert in Southern California at about 7:30 am local time.

Journalists at the scene were able to witness the impressive launch first hand from the sidelines, a testament to the cutting edge of aerospace engineering.

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Massive Wingspan

The gigantic plane is designed to launch more than one hypersonic rocket from a high altitude. Rockets being released from these heights require far less fuel to get into orbit.

A reusable hypersonic prototype vehicle capable of Mach 6 flights, called the Talon-A, is already in development.

The left fuselage is uncrewed, while the right fuselage accommodates both the pilot and the co-pilot. It’s powered by six used Boeing 747 engines and weighs in at 500,000 pounds.

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The Roc

The beast was first shown off back in 2017 by Stratolaunch founder (and Microsoft co-founder) Paul Allen.

It successfully completed its maiden voyage in 2019.

“The flight itself was smooth, which is exactly what you want a first flight to be,” test pilot Evan Thomas told The Verge at the time, adding, “it flew very much like we had simulated and like we predicted.”

More on Stratolaunch: See the World’s Biggest Airplane Nail Its First Test Flight

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