Stratolaunch completes taxi test

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Watch the world’s largest aircraft achieve 90mph (145km/h) during its latest taxi tests this month.

The dual-fuselage “launch platform” has a wingspan of 385ft (117 m) and will drop-launch rockets that will carry satellites at an altitude of 35,000ft (10,700m). The first rocket to be used on the launch system, the Pegasus, is scheduled to be in use by 2020 and will be able to carry payloads of up to 370kg (815 lb).

Meanwhile, Virgin Orbit continues to make progress on its launch system and has recently conducted a fit check of its LauncherOne rocket to its airborne launch platform, which is a customized 737. The company plans to conduct the first flight test of its launch system, which is designed to carry payloads of up to 300kg into orbit, before the end of this year.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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