Company Stratolaunch Systems is gearing up this summer to conduct the first test flight of the largest plane in the world, reports Space News. Held the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado springs the company officially confirmed the information about the plans for the first flight, if successfully completed several planned ground tests.
Shestimotorny dvuhfyuzelyazhny aircraft, built by Scaled Composites Stratolaunch Systems, owned by Paul Allen (American businessman and co-founder of Microsoft Corporation), designed to lift rockets into the air and their subsequent launch into space. According to the project developers, the system can provide efficient and at the same time a more economically attractive model of space launches and the conclusion of satellites in near-earth orbit.
To date, Stratolaunch Systems spent only two ground test aircraft. In fact the car only a few times swept through the runway. The last test was conducted in February of this year. In the first hire the aircraft carrier dispersed to approximately 74 kilometers per hour, the second up to 222 kilometers per hour. Typically, for conventional takeoff airliner requires a speed of about 240-277 kilometers per hour.
The company noted that all previous tests went smoothly, so no upgrade of the aircraft is not required. If the next three the hire will be successful, Stratolaunch will proceed to flight tests of the machine.
Using the Stratolaunch launch system is planned to conclude a variety of aerospace vehicles. One of them, for example, may be a cruise missile Pegasus XL Orbital ATK. At the moment, the launch of these missiles is done using specially equipped aircraft L-1011 Stargazer firm Lockheed Corporation. The separation of the missile from the carrier aircraft occurs at an altitude of about 12 km. at First, the Stratolaunch system will show one such missile, but the aircraft design, the company says, allows you to carry up to three such missiles.
The plane can carry and more overall system. The company recently signed an agreement with Space center John Stennis (NASA) to conduct testing of new power plants. This may indicate that Stratolaunch could develop their own missiles that will be launched from a carrier aircraft.