Stratolaunch has successfully performed two taxi tests at the Mojave Air and Space center in California.
The World's Largest Aircraft May Take Off Soon
Stratolaunch expects to conduct the first flight of its giant aircraft this summer as it develops a broad spectrum of launch services that will make use of it, the company said this week.
According to Spacenews.com Stratolaunch has performed two taxi tests of the aircraft at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California so far, most recently in late February.
Three more taxi tests of the vehicle are planned according to company officials.
Those taxi tests will take place at progressively higher speeds. During the most recent test, the plane reached speeds of up to 74 kilometers per hour, Spacenews.com reported.
The next test will reach speeds of nearly 130 kilometers per hour, with later tests going up to 220 kilometers per hour.
If those tests are successful, Stratolaunch expects to be ready for a first flight of the aircraft some time this summer, Spacenews.com reported.
According to Engaget.com, Stratolaunch was designed to be able to carry launch vehicles and their payloads, such as satellites, strapped to its belly.
It will fly them high enough and release them mid-flight, serving as a reusable, affordable way to ferry satellites to orbit.
The company is even looking at the possibility of flying three rockets on a single trip. Its target launch date is 2020, however, the Federal Aviation Authority will still have to make sure it's airworthy, which could take anywhere from 18 months to two years.