COLORADO SPRINGS — 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 April 16.
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, speaking on background during the 34th Space Symposium here.
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. 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. Officials said they are not being more precise about the date of that flight because of the uncertainties of flight testing compounded by the one-of-a-kind nature of this airplane.
Stratolaunch officials are confident, though, based on the progress during the previous test flights. The previous test was “highly ...