The twin-fuselage, 6-engined plane — the world's largest aircraft by wingspan — took flight on its maiden voyage Saturday morning from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California.

Details: Built by rocket launch company Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, the aircraft is designed to fly to an altitude of 35,000 feet and launch rockets and satellites into orbit from the air. Per Axios' Miriam Kramer, this will theoretically provide a more flexible way of getting payloads to space without reliance on a fixed launch site.

  • "Whatever the payload, whatever the orbit, getting your satellite into space will soon be as easy as booking an airline flight," said Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd in 2018.
  • The company has had some serious setbacks in recent years, including the death of its founder Paul Allen in 2018 and the cancellation of its plan to develop its own rockets.
  • Stratolaunch already has one known customer, Northrop Grumman, which plans to use the plane to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 12,009,301 — Total deaths: 548,799 — Total recoveries — 6,561,969Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 3,053,328 — Total deaths: 132,256 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,532,612Map.
  3. Public health: Houston mayor cancels Republican convention over coronavirus concerns Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.

8 hours ago - Health

Fighting the coronavirus infodemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An "infodemic" of misinformation and disinformation has helped cripple the response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.