That’s right, the world’s biggest plane took its first test flight over the Mojave Desert last week and successfully flew for two and a half hours at a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour. What’s the big deal? you might be wondering … it’s just a plane. Well, the Stratolaunch is no ordinary plane, not only because of its huge size, but also because of its purpose. Stratolaunch was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, and like many of his fellow entrepreneurs, he started the company to solve a problem. The problem he saw was how innovation could potentially be limited if there wasn’t an easy and cost-effective (or less expensive) way to access outer space. After all, satellites, for example, are launched into outer space to help do things like collect data and increase communication and connectivity. But launching a satellite is very expensive and for some organizations a very costly endeavor—one that could mean going forward with a project or stopping it altogether. That’s where Allen thought he could help. His idea? To “enable airline-style access to space that is convenient, affordable, and routine.”
Sadly, Allen passed away last year and didn’t get to witness his idea take flight, but his sister, Jody Allen, said that, “Paul would have been proud to witness today’s historic achievement.” For more information about the Stratolaunch, check out our story about the biggest airplane here.