The developers are already talking about a "historic day". In fact, the Stratolaunch team managed to blow up a 117-meter-wide aircraft – an absolute record. No problems were reported. The start was as easy as the landing. In between, a height of 5,000 meters and a speed of 300 kilometers per hour was reached. The pilot was also impressed by the giant bird afterwards. Four things you should know about the plane and the underlying project:
1. The giant plane is to launch rockets
In fact, with the aircraft called "Roc" no passengers will be transported later. Instead, it will be used to bring space rockets to a height of 10,000 meters. There they ignite their own engines. Such a form of rocket launch brings two major benefits. First, it is cheaper than the start from Earth. On the other hand, the engineers are less dependent on the weather conditions.
2. The construction is based on two hulls
At first glance, it looks as if only two planes were welded together for the giant plane. This impression is not completely wrong. In fact, parts of decommissioned Boeing 747 aircraft were used for "Roc". Overall, the record-breaking aircraft has two hulls and six engines. The rocket transporters are located in the middle of the plane between the two hulls. There, three launchers with a weight of up to 227 tons can be attached.
3. The financier of the project died recently
For a long time Stratolaunch was mainly financed by a man: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. But he died of cancer last October. Since then, there has also been turbulence in the construction of the giant aircraft. So far no new major investor has been found, so that the majority of permanent employees had to be terminated. The successfully completed test flight now makes hope, however, that still more capital can be successfully collected.
4. "Roc" is an Arabic mythical creature
Air travel is also undertaken in the Tales of the Arabian Nights. At the time, however, there were no planes. Instead, some of the protagonists use a giant bird, which is said to be larger than a human and strong enough to carry an elephant. This is called "Roc".
Via: Ars Technica