World's Biggest Plane Set To Take To The Skies In A Few Months

The world's largest plane with a mind-boggling 117m (385ft) wingspan could be set for its flight in just a few months.

The Stratolaunch, which was created by Paul Allen the man who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, is due to be unveiled in June this year, according to reports.

The massive Stratolaunch has 28 wheels, two cockpits and six engines - it will be used to help transport launch vehicles (rockets) and satellites into the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Credit: Stratolaunch
Credit: Stratolaunch

The Verge reports that the plane will be designed to carry a maximum take-off weight of 1.3 million pounds, which is so big I can't even begin to get my head around, but given that it's carrying rockets it's probably best to be safe than sorry.

Plans for the mega-plane were drawn together all the way back in 2011, when it was estimated to cost a whopping £215million ($300m), however, there's a good chance these numbers are even higher now.

The company behind the impressive new craft announced its latest plans at the 34th Space Symposium this week, following reports of a round of tests to get it flight-ready in recent months.

Credit: Stratolaunch
Credit: Stratolaunch

Aircraft programme manager George Bugg said at the time of the initial tests: "This was another exciting milestone for our team and the program.

"Our crew was able to demonstrate ground directional control with nose gear steering, and our brake systems were exercised successfully on the runway.

"Our first low speed taxi test is a very important step toward first flight. We are all proud and excited."

Engadget reports that the plane will need to take three more of these 'taxi tests' before it's allowed to take flight, where it will have to prove it can reach the high speeds required for a successful take-off.

Despite its size, the plane will be operated by a three-person crew, the Daily Mail reports, with just a pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer on board - well they'll have plenty of room for activities, won't they?

Sources: Stratolaunch; Daily Mail; The Verge; Engadget

Featured Image Credit: Stratolaunch

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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