This is the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft and as you’ve probably already guessed, it is now the largest aircraft in the world.
With a staggering wingspan of 385ft and weighing some 250 tonnes this goliath has been built with one very specific job: To launch satellites into space.
It’s designed and built by a company called Scaled Composites who you might know as the company that’s currently building the Virgin Galactic fleet of aircraft.
Stratolaunch is the brainchild of Microsoft’s co-founder and tech billionaire Paul Allen.
The idea is that a small delivery rocket is attached to the middle of the aircraft and then once at an extremely high altitude the rocket is launched into space.
By using a re-usable aircraft to ‘piggyback’ the rocket Allen’s company is hoping to significantly reduce the cost of satellite launches as well as increasing their efficiency.
But enough of the boring space revolution talk, back to the cold hard numbers.
The carrier aircraft has 28 enormous wheels and a grand-total of six Boeing 747 jet engines.
It weighs over 500,000 lbs and has a maximum take-off weight of 1,300,000 lbs, which is astonishing when you think about it.
For the moment, this absurdly large aircraft will remain very much on the ground where it will undergo rigorous fuel tests.
There will then be significant testing of the aircraft’s systems finally culminating in its first test flight within the next few months.