World’s largest aircraft lifts off for first time in California

Oxman

Well-Known Member
Talk about CRM.

World’s largest aircraft lifts off for first time in California

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It’s a bird! It’s a catamaran in the sky! Oh wait … It’s actually a plane.
The world’s largest plane, equipped with dual fuselages, took flight and landed safely after two hours in the air in California on Saturday.

Equipped with six Boeing 747 engines and boasting a wingspan greater than the length of a football field, the Stratolaunch jet is truly a behemoth.

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The plane completed its first test flight early Saturday morning, reaching a maximum speed of 189 mph as it flew over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet.

“What a fantastic first flight,” Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said in a statement. “Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems. We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today’s flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman’s Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port.”

Billed as a “brand-new way to reach space,” Stratolaunch claims the plane will make space “as accessible as a commercial flight.”
The plane is designed to carry up to three satellite-laden rockets under the center wing, which would be released at an altitude of 35,000 feet, ignite their engines and travel into space.

The advantages of that type of system includes being able to use various airports for launch to avoid the limitations of fixed launch sites that are routinely affected by things like weather and air traffic.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
Anybody find a number for the wheel base width? That’s gotta be a 200 foot wide runway. I can’t imagine this thing is gonna get a lot of flexibility when it comes to cross wind crab angles.
 

bimmerphile

SuperCritical™ Member
Anybody find a number for the wheel base width? That’s gotta be a 200 foot wide runway. I can’t imagine this thing is gonna get a lot of flexibility when it comes to cross wind crab angles.
Don't know what the winds were, but the video of it landing had some pretty decent bank angle, although I'm not sure it wasn't just because of the wingspan/size of the aircraft. Might have been an optical illusion
 

NickH

Dank Meme
Amazing, and definitely the way to get things in to Space. This is how we should have been doing it for years. Hopefully this will give SpaceX and their 1940's vertical launch concept a run for it's money.

When it comes to big, however:



Also, F Paul Allen.
 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
Amazing, and definitely the way to get things in to Space. This is how we should have been doing it for years. Hopefully this will give SpaceX and their 1940's vertical launch concept a run for it's money.

When it comes to big, however:



Also, F Paul Allen.
Another example of fuselage envy...…..
 

inigo88

Composite-lover
@inigo88 is one of those smart people.
Thanks for the kudos man. Four years of my blood, sweat and tears went into that thing. It’s a dream come true to see it fly, and I wish Paul Allen was still alive to see it as well.

People far smarter than I designed that thing, but the section between the fuselages kinda gives me the willies. Hope there is an ejection seat.
The wing is built like a bridge. Remember that Stratolaunch plans to suspend some very heavy payloads from the centerline and the structure is sized appropriately. Yesterday’s first flight should not have approached loads anywhere near what that wing is designed to withstand.

No ejection seats, but the flight crew wears chutes.

Dumb looking airplane
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Anybody find a number for the wheel base width? That’s gotta be a 200 foot wide runway. I can’t imagine this thing is gonna get a lot of flexibility when it comes to cross wind crab angles.
Runway 30 at MHV is indeed 200 ft wide. I can’t give you a number (maybe they’ll publish it eventually) but the margins are very slim. Yesterday's landing was in a side-slip, landing the right fuselage gear first and then bringing the left side down to follow. This technique is similar to how Virgin Galactic White Knight 2 handles crosswind landings. Unlike an airliner with low to the ground underwing engine nacelles, they don’t need to “crab and kick” to avoid a nacelle strike.
 

bike21

9-5 Ruins Lives
Good info @inigo88, what a project to work on! My ejection seat comment was in jest but that design is still a little unnerving from the non-engineer mind. Will be interesting to track the company's progress, all things space & progress in getting off this rock are cool to watch.
 

jweldon

“Member”
Amazing, and definitely the way to get things in to Space. This is how we should have been doing it for years. Hopefully this will give SpaceX and their 1940's vertical launch concept a run for it's money.

When it comes to big, however:



Also, F Paul Allen.
F to pay respects
 

FlyingAccountant

Well-Known Member
Admittedly, I'm not an aero engineer and I know exactly dick about designing them, but I'm shocked the wingspar is the only thing holding them together.

How are the controls laid out? Does each cockpit control its side or.....?
 

inigo88

Composite-lover
Also, F Paul Allen.
Well I'm puzzled by the cryptic negativity of your post. But comparing cross-category airplane to lighter than air is not exactly apples to apples. It broke the world record for longest wingspan airplane at 385 ft, but is not the biggest in other ways. Decide for yourself.



How We Launch - Stratolaunch
Stratolaunch | Scaled Composites

I'm not sure if this applies to the cynics here, but I've never understood the keyboard-ninja internet fanboy rivalries on places like Reddit about how "my favorite billionaire who does space stuff is better than your favorite billionaire who does space stuff!" The Falcon Heavy launch this week was freaking amazing. New Shepherd is amazing, and New Glenn is going to be epic. Meanwhile Kitty Hawk, ACubed and Opener are trailblazing the concept of electric VTOL air taxi services, and Boom is quietly developing a supersonic business jet in Colorado.

When it comes to commercial space, my philosophy has always been "A rising tide lifts all boats." Every time the Elon Musks, Jeff Bezoses and Paul Allens of the world dream big, it pushes innovation forward and brings our society one step closer to a science fiction space faring future. Whether I'm on their "team" or not is irrelevant. It's an exciting time for aerospace, and I want to cheer all of them on. :)
 

NickH

Dank Meme
Well I'm puzzled by the cryptic negativity of your post. But comparing cross-category airplane to lighter than air is not exactly apples to apples. It broke the world record for longest wingspan airplane at 385 ft, but is not the biggest in other ways. Decide for yourself.



How We Launch - Stratolaunch
Stratolaunch | Scaled Composites

I'm not sure if this applies to the cynics here, but I've never understood the keyboard-ninja internet fanboy rivalries on places like Reddit about how "my favorite billionaire who does space stuff is better than your favorite billionaire who does space stuff!" The Falcon Heavy launch this week was freaking amazing. New Shepherd is amazing, and New Glenn is going to be epic. Meanwhile Kitty Hawk, ACubed and Opener are trailblazing the concept of electric VTOL air taxi services, and Boom is quietly developing a supersonic business jet in Colorado.

When it comes to commercial space, my philosophy has always been "A rising tide lifts all boats." Every time the Elon Musks, Jeff Bezoses and Paul Allens of the world dream big, it pushes innovation forward and brings our society one step closer to a science fiction space faring future. Whether I'm on their "team" or not is irrelevant. It's an exciting time for aerospace, and I want to cheer all of them on. :)
It's an amazing achievement, and a fantastic airplane. I'm absolutely delighted to see any advancement in space technology, because I'm a huge nerd. SpaceX's triple landing the other day had me giggling. But this, rather than Nazi-rockets, is the future of space flight.

I linked in the Hindenburg because the title was 'largest aircraft'. Most stories are stating 'largest airplane by wingspan'. Not to diminish the achievement here, but most people have no clue just how huge airships were. Again, nerd, but when they weren't catching fire or popping, they were amazing even by today's standard.

Paul Allen went full Koch Brother to buy legislation attacking civil rights in WA, just when I thought I'd found a home. The State may not recover.
 

inigo88

Composite-lover
It's an amazing achievement, and a fantastic airplane. I'm absolutely delighted to see any advancement in space technology, because I'm a huge nerd. SpaceX's triple landing the other day had me giggling. But this, rather than Nazi-rockets, is the future of space flight.

I linked in the Hindenburg because the title was 'largest aircraft'. Most stories are stating 'largest airplane by wingspan'. Not to diminish the achievement here, but most people have no clue just how huge airships were. Again, nerd, but when they weren't catching fire or popping, they were amazing even by today's standard.

Paul Allen went full Koch Brother to buy legislation attacking civil rights in WA, just when I thought I'd found a home. The State may not recover.
Got it. I thought we might have been engaging in the old "my favorite billionaire is better than your favorite billionaire" debate. Thanks for leveling with me one nerd to another lol.
 
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ChasenSFO

hen teaser
Yawn, wake me when you guys are selling tickets to Mars.


Just kidding, you know I'm ecstatic for you, what a cool milestone to be a part of. That video you had on Facebook if the moment it popped out from behind the buildings all majestic against the low sun was epic. Try and find a way to host that here.
 
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