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Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch venture rolls out world’s biggest airplane for weekend tests

13 Aug 2018, 04:30 UTC
Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch venture rolls out world’s biggest airplane for weekend tests
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Stratolaunch’s giant airplane sits on the tarmac at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port. (Stratolaunch Photo)
Stratolaunch, the launch venture created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, took the world’s biggest airplane out of its hangar this weekend at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port and revved up its engines in preparation for the next step toward shooting rockets into space from midair.
The rocket-launching part is still a year or two away, but Stratolaunch is aiming to put the 385-foot-wide, twin-fuselage plane through its first test flight within the next couple of months.
In order to do that, the test program calls for flying five on-the-ground runway taxi tests at increasing speeds. Two of those tests have been done already, and in a tweet on Friday, Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd hinted that the third runway race might be run this weekend:

We are rolling out this morning for Taxi Test #3. We plan to conduct 5 Taxi Tests prior to First Flight. pic.twitter.com/kEXAiIIGOx
— Jean Floyd (@WJeanFloyd) August 10, 2018
The taxi test didn’t end up happening this weekend, but Stratolaunch’s team did put the plane through a couple of days’ worth of fueling operations. full-power engine tests and communication ...

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