Stratolaunch Systems, the space launch venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is planning to conduct the maiden flight of its giant carrier aircraft within the next few months.
The six-engine, twin-fuselage aircraft, built by California-based Scaled Composites, is designed to carry rockets up to high altitude and launch them to space from there. The alternative to conventional rocket launches could provide an affordable and efficient way to place satellites in orbit.
The aircraft has been through two taxi tests so far at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. If three more tests go smoothly, Stratolaunch will move forward with plans to fly the giant aircraft for the first time this summer.
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