It took two years, and a change of ownership, but the world’s largest plane has taken flight for a second time.
The Stratoluanch Roc completed a successful test flight over the Southern California desert on Thursday morning, according to Space. The flight, which lasted over three hours, makes the company’s goal of using the giant plane to air launch hypersonic vehicles one step closer to reality.
The dual-fuselage Roc, which has a jaw-dropping wingspan of 385 feet, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port just before 7:30 am local time. Over the course of the next three hours and 14 minutes, the massive aircraft flew around the surrounding desert, reaching a peak altitude of 14,000 feet (about 2.6 miles) and a top speed of 199 mph, according to the company. The flight was longer than the plane’s first, though it traveled at lower altitudes than it did in April 2019.
The purpose of Thursday’s flight was to see how the Roc handles cabin pressurization, as well as to test safety features and hardware upgrades implemented since its last outing, according to The Verge. And according to Stratolaunch’s chief operating officer, Zachary Krevor, everything went according to plan. “Today’s flight, at first review, has appeared extremely successful,” he told reporters afterwards. “We accomplished all test points as desired, we have not seen anything anomalous, and we are very pleased with the condition of the aircraft upon landing.”