World's largest aircraft successfully passes first engine tests

Sep 26, 2017 16:56 IST
World's largest aircraft successfully passes first engine tests

The world’s largest airplane, which has been designed to serve as a launching platform for sending rockets into low-Earth orbit, has successfully completed its initial engine tests.

The plane weighs about 227,000 kg and has the biggest wingspan ever built, measuring 118 m from one end to the other.

According to the spaceflight company Stratolaunch, which is led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, in the initial tests, each of the six engines of the plane operated as expected.

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Key Highlights

• The 747 turbofan engines of the plane were loaded with fuel and started one at a time and then allowed to idle at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, US.

• The double-bodied airplane is designed to serve as a mobile launch platform to carry rockets into low-Earth orbit.

• The satellite-carrying rockets are to be connected to the bottom of the plane.

• The workings of it will include a runway-style takeoff and when the aircraft reaches a cruising altitude of 11000 m, the rockets it is carrying will detach and then launch small satellites into low-Earth orbit.

Main Features of the plane

• Named Stratolaunch, the plane weighs nearly 227,000 kg when empty and unfueled.

• It is designed to carry nearly 250,000 kg between the two fuselages.

• Measuring 118 m from one end to the other, the aircraft's wingspan is longer than a professional football field.

• To support its size and weight, the vehicle has 28 wheels.

• It can hold more than 113,000 kg of fuel.

• It is powered by six engines made for Boeing 747 aircraft.

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According to Stratolaunch officials, the tests of the aircraft's engines will continue over the next few months at higher power levels and varying configurations, culminating to the start of taxi tests.

Further, the company said that it has already begun testing the aircraft's flight control system as well as the electrical,pneumaticBSE 2.00 % and fire-detection systems.

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