A plane with a wingspan longer than your average football field has successfully flown for the very first time.
We currently live in a world where it feels as if one of technology’s ultimate goals is to make everything as small as possible. Massive amounts of data can now fit on chips that are the size of a pinhead, while people are being urged to drive smaller cars in order to reduce the size of their carbon footprint.
Meanwhile, the ‘world’s largest plane’ successfully took flight for the first time last week. Don’t worry, this isn’t some hypocritical and pointless move by a massive airline. The aircraft, built by Stratolaunch, is only the size that it is so it can carry satellites on its back. It can then take them up into the atmosphere and launch them into space. Pretty incredible.
So now the reason everyone is here, the size. The reason Stratolaunch has been labeled the ‘world’s largest plane’, by its builders we might add, is due to its impressive wingspan. The plane measures at 385 feet from the tip of one wing to the other, reports Mashable. To put that into perspective, a football field is 360 feet long. While the wingspan might be the biggest ever, there are other planes which are longer from tip to tail.
So what’s the point of all this? Well, as we mentioned above, the new aircraft’s purpose is to carry satellites into the air so that they can be launched into space. It is actually capable of flying 6.2 miles into the air before releasing whatever it’s carrying into orbit. The method isn’t a new one, Virgin Galactica has launched rockets into space using the same method.
Harking back to the plight by us all to reduce our carbon footprints, as you can imagine, flying a satellite into the atmosphere on the back of a plane is much better for the environment than the method we currently use. It is also far cheaper, so a win for everybody involved. Plus, according to BBC, the plane’s first pilot said that flying the massive aircraft was a fantastic experience.