The Stratolaunch plane taxi test
After testing for six months, the Stratolaunch plane finally took the runway for a taxi. According to information gathered from the website, the plane weighed 500,000 lbs., a wingspan of 385 ft., a length of 235ft., 6X Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines and a maximum takeoff load of 1,300,000 lbs.
The plane will be fully operational by the end of 2020 is the brainchild of Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft aims to deliver payloads to low Earth orbit (LEO). This is geared at reducing the cost of launching rockets and save time required for successful launches.
The plane’s span exceeds the length of a football field is according to Paul Allen going to rank among the largest planes ever built and will provide a viable alternative to conventional ground-launched rockets. In a statement released, he outlined three advantages the Stratolaunch will look to offer;
ADVANTAGES THE STRATOLAUNCH OFFERS
- The Stratolaunch with its reusable launch platform will shorten the duration between the construction of satellites and opportunities to launch them into orbit.
- The Stratolaunch is capable of launching from different runways which presents a more significant flexibility vertical rocket launches don’t have.
- The Stratolaunch plane owing to shorter wait times and significant flexibility with constraints, it is expected that more missions per year will lead to a reduced cost and an increase in the number of satellites launched into low earth orbit attracting innovators and visionaries.
The plane completed a series of tests which culminated in the taxi on the runway. The plane was constructed and is being housed at the company’s facility located at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The CEO, Jean Floyd, writing on the website, explained the tests carried out.
- The six fuel tanks were filled and tested separately to ensure their fuel mechanism functioned appropriately and there were no leakages.
- Next, the flight control system – the rate of deflection of the wings control surfaces, stabilizers and limits of motion – was tested by the engineers.
- Finally, the electric, pneumatic and fire detection systems were also tested.