The world's largest plane Stratolaunch will be forced to run before the first flight
The Stratolaunch airplane, intended for an aerial launch of carrier rockets, will make trial runs along the strip before departing for the first flight.
"We do not have an exact date for the first flight, but we can confirm that it will take place this summer," said Laura Miller, a spokeswoman for the company. "There are three more tests for jogging the plane along the runway." According to the Internet portal Space News, the aircraft during one of the runs on the runway of the airfield in the Mojave Desert (California) will have to gain speed of 128 km / h, and during the second - 222 km / h. In March this year, it was already accelerating to a speed of 74 km / h.
The aircraft, created by the Orbital OTK corporation, is a design of two fuselages 72 meters in length, connected by a common wing 117 meters in length. It is equipped with six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines. The mass of the aircraft itself is 250 tons, and with a full load of 590 tons. Movement on the strip provides a 28-wheel chassis.
Stratolaunch was created in 2011 by American billionaire Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft Corporation. The carrier aircraft is designed as an air platform for launching Pegasus XL missiles. At the first stage, he will carry one carrier rocket, and later - up to three missiles fixed in the lower part of the fuselage. After reaching the preset altitude - about 9000 meters - the rocket will be reset, then its march engine will turn on and the rocket will put the satellite into orbit.
According to the media, the creation of this carrier aircraft is associated with plans for the construction of a new reusable spacecraft known as the Black Ice, capable of being in orbit for up to three days. The launch of this ship, comparable in size to the space shuttle Space Shuttle, can be made from any aerodrome, which is suitable for the parameter for Stratolaunch.
In size, Stratolaunch surpasses another American aircraft - the H-4 Hercules, a unique prototype of a strategic transport aircraft built almost entirely of wood in 1947 and made one single flight before going to the museum. The length of this eight-aircraft was 66 meters, the wingspan 97 meters, and weight 113.4 tons.