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World’s widest plane completes second test flight in California

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The massive Stratolaunch — an airplane with the world’s longest wingspan powered by six engines — flew this week for the second time over the Southern California desert.

The catamaran-looking aircraft, which features two cockpits on separate fuselages, took off Thursday from the Mojave Air and Space Port two years after its maiden flight, following a change in ownership and purpose.

Stratolaunch's massive carrier aircraft
The new owners initially plan to use it for launches of reusable hypersonic flight research vehicles.
REUTERS

“We are airborne,” the Stratolaunch company tweeted about 7:30 a.m.

The plane, a behemoth with a wingspan of 385 feet named Roc, reached a maximum altitude of 14,000 feet and a top speed of 199 mph during Thursday’s test flight, according to Space.com.

It landed safely about three hours later on its 28 wheels — and Stratolaunch called the test a success.

The new owners initially plan to use it as a carrier aircraft for launches of reusable hypersonic flight research vehicles
The plane has a wingspan of 385 feet.
REUTERS

Roc was developed by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, who died just months before it flew for the first time in April 2019.

The largest airplane ever
It landed safely about three hours after takeoff.
REUTERS

He intended to use it as a carrier aircraft for space launches, transporting satellite-laden rockets under the center of the wing and releasing them at high altitude.

The largest airplane ever
The catamaran-looking aircraft features two cockpits on separate fuselages.
REUTERS

The new owners initially plan to use it as a carrier aircraft for launches of reusable hypersonic flight research vehicles.

Hypersonic describes flights at speeds of at least Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

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