Built under the guidance of Paul Allen, former co-founder of Microsoft, this large airplane was rolled out of its hangar and exhibited to the public today. The craft has two fuselages, six wing mounted engines, 28 wheels with an astounding wingspan of 385 feet.
Video of the World’s Widest new airplane is rolled out for its first public showing today. (3:50) above.
Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch’s chief executive officer, said the goal is to have a launch demonstration by 2019.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be actively conducting ground and flight line testing at the Mojave Air and Space Port,” Floyd said in a statement. “This is a first-of-its-kind aircraft, so we’re going to be diligent throughout testing and continue to prioritize the safety of our pilots, crew and staff.”
While the Stratolaunch has the biggest wingspan, but the Russian Antonov An-225 is longer. When business mogul Howard Hughes‘ “Spruce Goose” lumbered into the air in 1947, the H-4 had a then enormous wingspan of 320 feet, 65 feet shorter than the new Stratolaunch.
Allen, owner of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, has written about his desire to see more use of low Earth orbit launches into space, a technique he asserts is less inclined to break the bank.