Stratolaunch project makes more progress

All-composites mega-plane achieves ground speed of 40 knots in taxi tests.
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The Stratolaunch mega-plane project continues to make progress. A recent video shows the aircraft performing a series of taxi tests at the Mojave, CA, US, Air and Space Port. The plane achieved a ground speed of 40 knots – or around 46 mph. This is a milestone for the craft, which previously reached speeds of around 28 mph in December.

With two fuselages connected by a single giant wing, the Stratolaunch is the world’s largest all-composites aircraft. It is powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines and is 76m in length and is designed to carry a space launch vehicle payload of 500,000 lb. It has a wingspan of 118m, which is roughly 7m longer than the height of a Saturn V rocket or a 35 story building.

In other words, it’s big.

Given the Stratolaunch’s gargantuan size, it likely takes some skill to maneuver and the taxi tests are an exciting step toward the first test flight of the craft, which reportedly could happen as early as 2019.