the mighty stratolaunch airplane has emerged from its hangar in the mojave desert, california for the first time ever. the giant craft is being built by microsoft co-founder paul allen, who intends for the majestic machine to be used to launch rockets into space. with wings reaching out over a huge 385 ft, the stratolaunch takes the title of the world’s largest airplane by wingspan, and also bags the record for world’s largest all-composite plane. in total, the craft takes up the same amount of space as a football pitch.


the startolaunch emerges from its hangar in california for the first time
images courtesy of stratolaunch

 

 

currently, as stratolaunch is not yet airborne, it rolls its weight along on 28 wheels. eventually, six boeing 747 engines will power the mega-plane into the sky. in addition to its 500,000 lbs weight, stratolaunch manages to lift a heavy payload, taking its maximum weight up to 1.3 million lbs over an operational range of around 2,000 nautical miles.


the majestic craft takes up the same area as a football pitch

 

so why do we need a plane to launch rockets, when they can already be sent into space from the ground? well, launching rockets from the stratolaunch will give them a head start on their journey, saving fuel costs and making access to space more convenient, reliable, and routine. 


the craft has a wingspan of 385 ft

 

 

‘we believe that normalizing access to low Earth orbit (LEO) has the potential to redefine our lives,’ reads allen’s company missionstatement. ‘it will do this by creating more opportunities for commercial, philanthropic and governmental organizations to collect rich and actionable data and drive advancements in science, research, and technology from space.’ stratolaunch is currently under construction at the mojave air & space port in mojave, california. allen aims for the plane to be fully operational by the end of this decade.


the craft is intended to be used as a launch pad for rockets


an airborne launchpad will make space travel easier and more accessible


the stratolaunch can carry a payload of 500,000 lbs


the craft is powered by six boeing 747 engines


the craft rolls along the ground on 28 wheels


the stratolaunch will take to the skies by the end of the decade

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news