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 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 31,920, 652 — Total deaths: 977,311 — Total recoveries: 22,002,729Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m ET: 6,935,414 — Total deaths: 201,920 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing — The coronavirus is surging again.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. World: Justin Trudeau says Canada's second wave has begun
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
50 mins ago - Economy & Business

The stock market's not-enough tantrum

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The market looks like it may be throwing another tantrum, investors say. But the cause is different this time around.

What's happening: This selloff is beginning to look like the 2013 taper tantrum, which roiled markets as U.S. government yields rose in response to an expected reduction of the Fed's quantitative easing (QE) program.

55 mins ago - Sports

Checking in on college hoops

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

No sport was impacted by the onset of COVID-19 more than college basketball, which saw the cancellation of March Madness. Now, we've come full circle, with details emerging about the upcoming campaign.

Where things stand: The season will begin a few weeks later than normal on Nov. 25, with the non-conference slate comprised mostly of multi-team events.

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