MOJAVE, CALIF., March 27, 2013 (Stratolaunch PR) – Stratolaunch Systems today opened a new hangar that will eventually house the world’s largest aircraft during the assembly and testing stages, the aerospace development company announced.
The hangar opening brings Stratolaunch Systems one step closer to its goal of delivering a breakthrough air-launch system that provides safe, flexible, and affordable orbital access to space.
The 103,257-square-foot hangar is one of the two Stratolaunch facilities built at Mojave Air and Space Port to accommodate construction of the system’s carrier aircraft. The other Mojave facility, a 88,000-square-foot fabrication facility, opened in October 2012 and is currently used to manufacture the aircraft’s wing and fuselage sections. Both facilities were constructed by Bakersfield, Calif.-based Wallace and Smith General Contractors.
The carrier aircraft, developed by Stratolaunch partner Scaled Composites, will take off like a conventional plane before releasing the system’s rocket which will launch medium class payload to orbit. As the largest aircraft ever constructed, it will use six 747 engines, weigh more than 1.3 million pounds, and have a wingspan of more than 380 feet.
“Stratolaunch has made significant progress over the past year and a half, and the new hangar allows us to keep that momentum going so that we can hit our first test flight in 2016,” said Gary Wentz, CEO and President of Stratolaunch Systems.
Stratolaunch Systems, founded in 2011 by philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul G. Allen, is based in Huntsville, Alabama.