The Stratolaunch aircraft taxied for the first time Saturday on a runway at Mojave Air and Space Port in Eastern Kern Country. The eastern Kern Country-based Scaled Composites has been working with Stratolaunch for the past five years designing, building and testing the giant aircraft.
The aircraft rolled across the runway for the first time under its own power utilizing all six Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines.
The Stratolaunch was designed to enhance an air launch platform to make access to space more convenient, reliable and routine.
As the Stratolaunch rolled down the runway, the wings, which span 385 feet, protruded far past the edges of the 200-foot wide Runway 12-30 at the Mojave Air and Spaceport. The airplane is designed for loads a payload of up to 500,000 pounds.
Stratolaunch performing taxi test on a runway at Mojave Air and Space Port in Eastern Kern Country
Comparing Stratolaunch and An-225, the An-225 is 37 feet longer than Stratolaunch however; Stratolaunch’s wingspan is 95 feet longer than that of An-225. Currently, The Russian Antonov An-225 is the world’s largest active airplane.
The test was specially conducted to test the fundamental ability to control the aircraft speed and direction on the runway. The ground team monitored and handled number of systems, including steering, braking, anti-skid and telemetry. All the systems were working as required per the official announcement.
The company said that this was the preliminary phase of testing and more vibrant testing is yet to be performed which include faster taxi speeds and more challenging steering and braking tasks for the preparation of maiden flight.
Stratolaunch, a massive aircraft manufactured to launch rockets into space from high altitude rolled out of its hangar for the first time in Mojave, California to initiate testing procedures. The owner of the Stratolaunch aircraft is Billionaire Paul G. Allen.
Scaled Composites is a specialty aerospace and composites development company offering design, build, and test capabilities. Founded by Burt Rutan in 1982 and located in Mojave, Scaled has averaged one first flight of a unique, new airplane per year.