World’s largest aircraft passes test at Mojave

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

World’s largest aircraft  passes test at MojavePictured: Stratolaunch developments attracted the attention of Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the space port during a tour of California in October. Also pictured are House Representative Kevin McCarthy, Assemblyman Vince Fong and NAWS Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Dale. — Photo by Timothy Neipp

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Scaled Composites reports that Stratolauch — the world’s largest aircraft — successfully executed its first low-speed taxi test on Saturday at Mojave Air and Space Port.

“During this initial taxi test, the aircraft moved down the runway under its own power for the first time,” said a spokesperson.

“These first test points have demonstrated the fundamental ability to control the aircraft speed and direction on the runway.”

This small, but critical, milestone puts Stratolaunch Systems Corp. one step closer to the ultimate goal of making access to space more convenient, reliable and affordable.

Project Pilot Joe Sweat reported that getting the airplane moving under its own power was interesting.

Later taxi testing will assess faster speeds, more challenging steering and braking tasks.

“It was exciting to see the magnificent machine on the runway for the first time!” said Test Conductor Brandon Wood.

Scaled Composites was founded in Mojave by Burt Rutan in 1982. The company has been a forerunner in laying the groundwork for commercial access to space.

In 2004 Scaled won the $10 million Ansari X Prize after the company successfully sent civilians into space twice in one week in SpaceShipOne — which is now on display at the Smithsonion Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Story First Published: 2017-12-22