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"We've just built the world's biggest plane"- Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen



Twin fuselage jet

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History was made when the co founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen unveiled his colossal, twin-fuselage jet from a giant hangar at the Air and Space Port in Mojave, California, where it's been under construction for the past four years.

The jet will act as an aerial launchpad for low earth orbiting satellites.

After the unveiling, the twin-fuselage aircraft, which is built from two Boeing 747-400s and by six 747 engines, will undergo aircraft fueling tests, followed by ground- and flight-testing phases.

Allen funded the project on the basis that a reusable air-launch system would be cheaper and faster at delivering satellites than traditional earth launches, and in turn would open more opportunities for space exploration and scientific research on earth.

The vision of this project organizers is to transport rockets and smaller satellites to about 30,000 feet, at which point the rocket is released and carries the satellite to low-earth orbit. The aircraft would then return to base, refuel and carry more rockets.

Having a wingspan of 385 feet (117 meters), which is slightly greater than the length of an NFL field, it is the world's largest aircraft, surpassing Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose H-4 Hercules.
Twin fuselage jet

The aircraft measures 238 feet from nose to tail, with a height of 50 feet. On the same day, the aircraft's 28 wheels were tested to know whether it can support the plane's weight. It can take off with a total weight of 1,300,000lb, and carry maximum payload of up to 550,000lb. It has a flight radius of 1,000 nautical miles.

Read Also: 10 biggest submarines ever built

Under a partnership with aerospace firm Orbital ATK, Stratolaunch plans to launch one Orbital ATK Pegasus XL vehicle and possibly up to three Pegasus vehicles. The Stratolaunch's test launch is scheduled for early 2019.

"This is a first-of-its-kind aircraft, so we're going to be diligent throughout testing and continue to prioritize the safety of our pilots, crew and staff. Stratolaunch is on track to perform its first launch demonstration as early as 2019," said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch.

"We have already started preparations for launch-vehicle delivery to our Mojave facilities. We're actively exploring a broad spectrum of launch vehicles that will enable us to provide more flexibility to customers."

Paul Allen is no longer a board member in Microsoft, he resigned in the year 2000. But he is strategy adviser to the company.

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