First tests of

First tests of "world's largest plane" massive engines

AIRCRAFT

First tests of Successful engine tests are another milestone crossed in the journey to getting this beast into the air(Credit: Dylan Schwartz)

Rich Haridy

September 21st, 2017

First tests of The plane repurposes six used 747-400 engines(Credit: Dylan Schwartz)

Successful engine tests are another milestone crossed in the journey to getting this beast into the air(Credit: Dylan Schwartz)

Back in June, the world's largest plane emerged from its hangar for the first time. Reactions varied from those skeptical about the design ("what an odd bird!"), to straight-up excitement over the innovative plane ("a stunning-looking aircraft!").

Now the team has crossed another milestone by completing the first round of engine testing, continuing the groundwork needed to get the beast into the air in 2019.

First tests of The Stratolaunch has been in development for seven years(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of Leaving the hangar(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of An artist's impression of the plane in the air(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of

A rear view of the plane(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of

The hangar in the Mojave Desert was custom-built to construct the plane(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of The next milestone will be taxi tests sometime over the next few months(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of

The plane weighs in at 500,000 lb (226,800 kg)(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of

An overhead view of the massive aircraft(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of The first flight is planned for sometime in 2019(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

First tests of

First tests of An illustration of the path the aircraft would take to carry its payloads into the stratosphere(Credit: Stratolaunch Systems Corp)

Stratolaunch is one of several new companies working to develop a functional air-launch-to-orbit aircraft. The project has been in development for almost seven years and this engine test is another successful benchmark crossed in the plane's development.

The plane carries six Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines lifted from two used Boeing 747-400s. The engine tests comprised three phases – a "dry motor" run using auxiliary power, a "wet motor" run introducing jet fuel, and finally an idling test where each of the six engines were observed to ensure they were all operating properly.

"Over the next few months, we will continue to test the aircraft's engines at higher power levels and varying configurations, culminating to the start of taxi tests," writes CEO Jean Floyd announcing the successful tests.

The Stratolaunch is undoubtedly a massive feat of aircraft engineering, with a giant wingspan of 385 ft (117 m), the company plans to continue engine tests over the coming months with the next milestone being taxi tests. SOURCE: New Atlas

Source: Stratolaunch


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