Stratolaunch Roc: World's largest plane completes record-breaking test flight

Last updated at 07:05
stratolaunch roc taking offStratolaunch
The massive 'Roc' plane took flight in California, and stayed in the air for 6 hours before landing again

It already holds the title for plane with the largest wingspan, and now the Stratolaunch Roc has completed a record-breaking test flight.

The huge carrier plane is designed to carry and launch hypersonic vehicles, which are things that move at five times the speed of sound, like spacecraft.

Basically, the aim is to eventually use it as a moving launch pad for satellites, and other things that are going into space.

Roc flew for six hours above California's Mojave Desert, which is the longest the plane has ever flown continuously.

It can have 220 tonnes worth of stuff on board, and it has wingspan of 117 metres - that's longer than an American football field, and twice the wingspan of a Boeing 747!

Speaking of the Boeing, the Roc uses six 747 engines to run.

stratolaunch roc flying over the mojave desertstratolaunch
Mojave is the smallest of the North American deserts

The head of Stratolaunch, Zachary Krevor, said: "Our amazing team is continuing to make progress on our test timeline, and it is through their hard work that we grow closer than ever to safe separation and our first hypersonic flight tests.

"We are excited for what's ahead this year as we bring our hypersonic flight test service online for our customers and the nation."

This was the ninth test the massive plane has carried out, and the second with Stratolaunch's Talon-A hypersonic test vehicle.

stratolaunch roc on tarmac against sunsetstratolaunch
It's the plane with the largest wingspan, but there are others that are longer from nose to tail

They are hoping to carry out the first "drop tests" (where they launch what they have on board) by the end of the year.

Stratolaunch said the plan reached a maximum altitude of 22,500 feet (6,860 meters) during the test flight.

The private spaceflight company was founded in 2011 by the co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen.

Before he died in 2018, he said he wanted to make space launch "more reliable, affordable and accessible than ever before".

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