VIDEO of Monster Plane's Taxi Tests Leaked Online

VIDEO of Monster Plane's Taxi Tests Leaked Online

VIDEO of Monster Plane's Taxi Tests Leaked Online

The company hasn't revealed what other tests will need to be conducted before its new target launch date in 2020 and whether reaching 46 miles per hour on the ground means we'll see it fly soon.

With a wingspan of 385 feet, the Stratolaunch is the world's biggest aircraft and the largest all-composite plane ever manufactured. At 76m long and with a wingspan of 118m, the twin-hulled plane looks like it requires some skill to manoeuver, not least when its massive frame is still on the ground.

The company said February 26 that it performed a series of medium-speed taxi tests of its aircraft February 24 and 25 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

The world's largest plane is so big, it needs two fuselages with separate cockpits. Also, while a ground-launched rocket may have to wait to coincide with an orbiting spacecraft, the Stratolaunch could go to a launch point at any time.

The plane will do so by attaching the payload and its launch vehicle companion to its belly. Stratolaunch has been created to have a range of 2,200 km (1,200 miles) at 35,000 feet when flying an air launch mission. And while the Pegasus is a fairly small rocket, capable of launching satellites weighing up to 1,000 pounds, the rocket-maker signed a deal with Stratolaunch past year.

Allen's move coincides with a surge of new businesses planning to sell internet access, Earth imagery, climate data and other services from networks of hundreds of satellites in low-altitude orbits around Earth. That approach, the company argues, could offer benefits particular to national security applications by being able to launch a constellation of small satellites into different orbits on the same flight.

Stratolaunch, funded by billionaire Paul Allen, developed the plane as an air-launch platform. The aircraft will fly to 35,000 ft (11,000m) where it will release its rocket and its satellite cargo.

These satellite networks, based on low-priced spacecraft, are the fastest-growing segment of the global satellite industry which reported more than $208billion in revenue 2015, according to a Satellite Industry Association report.

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