Now THAT is a really big f***ing plane!
Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has posted on Twitter a picture of the ginormous carrier aircraft from his company Stratolaunch Systems. It’s making its first rollout to begin fuel testing:
Nicknamed the “Roc,” the six-engine mothership has the longest wingspan of any aircraft ever built — 385 feet — weighs 500,000 lbs, and is designed to carry rockets between its two fuselages and launch them into space.
By comparison, a National Football League field spans only 360 feet.
After the fueling tests, the plane will undergo engine runs, taxi tests, and finally first flight.
The plane will initially launch a single Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket but will eventually have the capability to launch up to three Pegasus rockets in one mission.
The Stratolaunch aircraft is designed for a max takeoff weight of 1,300,000 lbs., meaning it’s capable of carrying payloads up to approximately 550,000 lbs.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be actively conducting ground and flightline testing at the Mojave Air and Space Port,” Stratolaunch Systems CEO Jean Floyd said. “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.”