The Scaled Composites Stratolaunch has finally flown.

Designed as a means to launch rockets (and their payloads) into space from high altitudes, the Stratolaunch can now claim to be the largest aircraft ever flown as measured by its 385 ft (117m) wingspan.

Powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines as found on the Boeing 747-400, it is capable of carrying a 550,000 lb (250,000 kg) external payload and boasts a maximum takeoff weight of a staggering 1,300,000 lb (589,670 kg).

To save development costs, it borrows other systems from the 747-400, such as the avionics and landing gear.

The flight crew operates from the pressurized right-side fuselage, and the left is unpressurized, containing only systems and equipment. 


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