The world’s largest aeroplane by wingspan has taken to the air over the Mojave desert in California.The aircraft built by Stratolaunch is designed to act as a flying launch pad for satellites.
Its wingspan measures 385ft (117m) and on its maiden flight the jet reached speeds of about 170mph (274km/h).
If successful, such a project would be a cheaper way to launch objects into space than rockets fired from the ground.
According to their website, Stratolaunch aims to “make access to orbit as routine as catching a commercial airline flight is today”.British billionaire Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic has also developed aircraft that launch rockets into orbit from great height.
Stratolaunch describes its vessel as the “world’s largest plane” but there are aircraft which are longer from nose to tail.