The Gigantic Stratolaunch Aircraft in Photos

An enormous aircraft designed to launch rockets into space from high altitude has undergone testing at Mojave Air & Space Port in the desert northeast of Los Angeles. It made its first engine runs in September 2017. In December 2017, low-speed taxi tests were conducted, allowing the team to assess steering and stopping capabilities.

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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
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Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company
How big is the Stratolaunch plane? This panchromatic image show the aircraft at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California on Sept. 22, 2018. The image was captured by DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-1 satellite.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
The enormous Stratolaunch dual fuselage aircraft rolls out of its Mojave Desert hangar in California on May 31, 2017.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
The Stratolaunch aircraft has a wing span of 385 feet. That's more than the wingspan of any other aircraft and greater than the length of an American football field.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
Stratolaunch will carry as many as three rockets attached to the center of the wing between its two fuselages.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
The rockets will be released, ignite their engines and carry small satellites weighing up to 1,000 pounds to low Earth orbit.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
Stratolaunch is powered by six engines of the same type used by Boeing 747s.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
By comparison, the Airbus A380's wing span is 262 feet, well short of the Stratolaunch's 385-foot span.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
The Stratolaunch was rolled out of its hangar at Mojave Air & Space Port in the desert northeast of Los Angeles after scaffolding was removed from around the aircraft.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
Stratolaunch has 28 wheels, pictured here May 31, 2017 at at Mojave Air & Space Port in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
A view from above the giant Stratolaunch aircraft in the desert north of Los Angeles.
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Stratolaunch Systems Corp.
The aircraft will then be taken back inside the hangar for weight and balance testing. Ground testing will lead to flight operations and the first launch demonstration, which is expected in 2019.
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Stratolaunch is seen during low-speed taxi tests in December 2017.
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Stratolaunch is seen during low-speed taxi tests in December 2017.
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Stratolaunch is seen during low-speed taxi tests in December 2017.
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Stratolaunch is seen during low-speed taxi tests in December 2017.
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Stratolaunch is seen during low-speed taxi tests in December 2017.
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Stratolaunch is seen during low-speed taxi tests in December 2017.
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The Stratolaunch vehicle fleet includes Pegasus, due for its first flight in 2020, a medium launch vehicle, a heavy version of the medium launch vehicle reusable space plane.
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