A gigantic aircraft named the Stratolaunch Carrier is being built at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
Wingspan Comparison of the Stratolaunch
This giant airplane will have a huge wingspan of an astonishing 117 meters, which is longer than a football field. It will be 123 feet longer than world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, which makes it the world’s biggest plane.
Stratolaunch will act as a giant air pad in the sky to put satellites into orbit at a much lower cost than existing technologies.
Stratolaunch is the brainchild of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan, who won the $10 million Ansari X Prize.
The new partnership involves Elon Musk’s SpaceX as well. While the spacecraft will be built at the Mojave Spaceport, the rockets will be built by SpaceX in Hawthorne, California.
Key features of the Stratolaunch at a glance:
- The plane will climb to 30,000 feet (5.7 miles) to help launch satellites that will orbit up to 1,200 miles above Earth.
- High altitude launching will avoid the huge fuel costs of launching from Earth.
- The Stratolaunch Carrier is powered by six 747-style engines.
- The Stratolaunch Carrier can be used again and again for multiple launches.
- It will need around 12,000 feet of runway to take off. In comparison, most commercial planes need around 7,000 to 8,000 foot runways.
- Each of the twin fuselages of the Stratolaunch Carrier aircraft will be supported by 12 main landing gear wheels along with two nose gear wheels.