Stratolaunch is without question the biggest airplane ever created, and earlier this week it took to the runway for its first test.
The vast airplane is the brainchild of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and once operational will be able to launch spacecraft from high-altitude.
Earlier this week the aircraft took to the runway to carry out a simple speed test and while that in itself wouldn’t normally deserve pause, it does give us a first look at the sheer size of the aircraft.
Stratolaunch has a wingspan of some 385ft (wider than a football pitch) and weighs some 250 tonnes.
To put that into perspective, the double-decker Airbus A380 has a wingspan of just 260ft.
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.
Using six Boeing 747 engines the Stratolaunch will have a maximum take-off weight of 1,300,000 lbs.
Sadly we’re still going to have to wait a full 12-months before we see it in the air as Allen’s company have a lot more testing to do.