Stratolaunch is slated to go on its first flight in 2016 and shall become, officially, the largest aircraft in the world. It is being built in Mojave Air and Space Port in California by aerospace company Scaled Composites. Stratolaunch will feature two fuselages, six jet engines and shall sport a wingspan of 385 feet. Scaled Composites President, Kevin Mickey said, “If you were to put the center of this airplane on a football field. Its wingtips would extend beyond the goalposts by about 15 feet on each side.”
Because of its dimensions, it is 65 meters wider than the Hughes H-4 ‘Spruce Goose’ and about 37 meters wider than the Airbus A380. Let us use this opportunity to remind you that the Airbus A380 is world’s largest passenger airplane as of now. Stratolaunch is being built around a pair of retired Boeing 747s.
The brain behind this project is Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen. The idea was not to create the world’s largest aircraft but to change the way that satellites are being launched into space. It has been designed to carry a rocket that has been equipped between its two fuselages. Once the aircraft reaches the desired altitude, the rocket is launched off into space for the releasing of satellite. The estimated combined weight of Stratolaunch along with the rocket is about 600 tons.