Stratolaunch aircraft set to launch this year

Stratolaunch is preparing to conduct the first flight of its twin-hull aircraft later this year, Space News reports.

The aircraft has undergone multiple taxi texts at increasing speeds and is expected to be ready for a first flight in winter this year.

The company is reportedly confident that the aircraft’s flight will succeed, but said it would have to undergo a rigorous airworthiness inspection before it can launch a payload while airborne.

Stratolaunch’s aircraft will be capable of carrying an orbital rocket between its twin hulls and launch it from high altitude while in flight, greatly reducing the cost of orbital launches.

With a wingspan measuring 117 metres, the Stratolaunch aircraft is classified as the largest plane in the world.

The company said more details about the aircraft and its potential applications will be revealed in the months leading up to its first flight.

Now read: SpaceX to build interplanetary rocket in Los Angeles

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Stratolaunch aircraft set to launch this year