Stratolaunch Runway Test Reaches New Speed Milestone

Stratolaunch, the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan, completed another milestone this week.

Building on its first taxi test in December, Stratolaunch nearly doubled its speed this time out reaching a top taxi speed of 46 mph (40 knots) on Sunday.

With twin fuselages, a wingspan of 385-feet, six 747 Pratt & Whitney engines and a payload capacity of over 500,000 pounds, Stratolaunch’s reusability and air-launch capabilities will allow for the plane to operate an airport-style approach to launching rockets into low-Earth orbit (LEO).

The primary purpose of the most recent test was to evaluate updates made to the plane’s steering and primary braking systems, setting the stage for Stratolaunch’s first flight, which is expected to come later this year.