Julien Cadot –
23 minutes ago- Sciences
A little over 74 kilometers per hour: this is the current maximum speed of the huge Stratolaunch aircraft.
When it comes to aeronautics, it is important not to go through the steps. Especially on a project like Stratolaunch, a private company led by a former Microsoft who has the ambition to create a plane capable of carrying rockets for takeoffs from the stratosphere. This monster of metal embeds 6 reactors on a double fuselage, weighs 226 000 kilos and has a wingspan of 117 meters. Figures that make you dizzy, but also remember that the payload of the device is not passengers with their carry-on baggage, but a rocket.
The first test flight for Stratolaunch is scheduled for 2019. Before taking off, the plane is currently learning to ride. On the runway of the airport where he trains in the Mojave desert in California, he reached a speed of 70 km / h in a new test. This is much more than the previous test, which had pushed the plane to 28 km / h. These tests are all of capital importance because they ensure, step by step, that the aircraft will ultimately be able to carry the 250 000 kilos required rockets it aims to launch.
This type of launch is not new: this is exactly what Virgin Galactic wants to do with its commercial flights to space tourists. It is also, to a lesser extent, what Orbital ATK does with its Stargazer L-1011 aircraft launching small Pegasus XL rockets.