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Tue, Oct 23, 2018

Stratolaunch Completes Medium-Speed Taxi-Test

Accelerated To 70 Knots On Desert Runway

The huge Stratolaunch aircraft designed to carry boosters that will carry payloads into orbit completed a key taxi test just a few days after company founder Paul Allen passed away.

Fox News reports that Stratolaunch recently reached speeds of about 70 knots on a runway in the Mojave Desert. The plane is expected to achieve its first flight after a few more such taxi tests are completed.

Earlier this year, Allen told Wired Magazine that the Stratolaunch aircraft was more than just a vanity project, as some have suggested. "You don't build [that plane] unless you're very serious, not only about wanting to see the plane fly but to see it fulfill its purpose. Which is getting vehicles in orbit," he said.

The plane was built by Scaled Composites. It is powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines, the same engines as are used on the Boeing 747, and has the largest wingspan of any airplane ever assembled. The plane measures 385 fet from wingtip to wingtip. It can carry multiple launch vehicles with a total capacity of 500,000 pounds. Its maximum takeoff weight is 650 tons, and the ship can fly for 10 hours or 1,000 nautical miles.

In August, Stratolaunch announced a family of launch vehicles that the company says will enter regular service starting in 2020.

(Source: Stratolaunch and as cited. Image provided by Stratolaunch)

FMI: www.stratolaunch.com, Source report

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