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World's largest aircraft successfully completes first flight

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.