A Historic Flight: Stratolaunch Takes Off for the First Time

The world’s largest aircraft has taken off.

In a historic flight taking off at 6:58 a.m. PDT on April 13, 2019, the Stratolaunch aircraft flew for two and a half hours over the Mojave Desert achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour and an altitude of 17,000 feet before landing at the Mojave Air & Space Port.

Founded by Paul Allen in 2011, the Stratolaunch aircraft is designed to enable airport-style operations that will make access to space more convenient, affordable and routine. “We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today’s historic achievement,” said Jody Allen, Chair of Vulcan Inc. and Trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust. “The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and I congratulate everyone involved.”


With a dual fuselage design and a wingspan greater than the length of an American football field, the aircraft is a mobile launch platform that can support multiple launch vehicles, weighing up to a total of 500,000 pounds.

As part of its initial flight, pilots evaluated aircraft performance and handling qualities – all of which were successful.

“What a fantastic first flight,” said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch.“Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems. We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today’s flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman’s Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port.”

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