Stratolaunch 'Roc', the World's Largest Aircraft, Completes First Flight

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Yazata, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It just flew for the first time today! About six hours ago at Mojave California.

    Mojave Airport is the extraordinary place where SpaceShip One (Burt Rutan's do-it-yourself spaceship that won the X-Prize) flew from, where Virgin Galactic's suborbital rocket plane was manufactured and currently flies. The airport doesn't host airline traffic but instead specializes in things that include manufacturing and test-flying exotic aircraft prototypes.

    This one is designed to be a high altitude rocket launch platform. It's another one of Burt Rutan's crazy designs, basically two 747 class fuselages joined wing-to-wing. The plan is for it to carry one or more orbital boosters (the initial plan is to carry up to three Pegasus rockets, but they will probably go with one larger rocket later) beneath that middle span, then release the rocket(s) at altitude where it lights and heads for orbit.

    Everything seems to have gone well and the huge thing is now safely back on the ground.

    Videos here:

    https://twitter.com/thejackbeyer/status/1117067150169034752

    https://twitter.com/thejackbeyer/status/1117101097850564613

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  5. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    except for the foliage.

    small things...
    it is a little humbling to think about why the plane is on a slight angle off center in the photo.
    with all the technology, humans are and will always be at the mercy of nature/weather.

    they often skimp on things like best strongest most flexible material to join the 2 fuselages together and make sub-Parr mounting points etc..
    & then forget to run the simulations (& test flights)with the new upgraded material flexibility which changes the frequency oscillation & vibration points etc...
    i hope they don't do that on this one.

    is it remote controlled ?
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    True. The vegetation is hard to see in the photo though.

    I don't think that I recall ever seeing a desert scene on Earth (the only planet where I've ever lived, sad to say) where vegetation is completely absent. Maybe the Great Salt Lake salt-flats in NW Utah.

    When things become hugely complex, it's hard to predict what they will do.

    Just looking at it, that looks like the point of vulnerability. If that middle section snaps, the plane and its pilots are toast.

    But I'm sure that they knew that and designed for any foreseeable stresses. That's where the rocket payloads will attach, after all. Burt Rutan is a certifiable aircraft design genius.

    No. Human pilots. Two of them, I believe. Evan Thomas (Scaled Composites' chief test pilot) and Chris Guarente.

    Check out this video, it's pretty cool:

     
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  8. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    was watching a doco saying they think microbial life may be vastly more wide spread than previously thought.
    Antarctica & some place in the usa has the lowest rating of life processes support.
    though microbial life in ice seems to be a thing.
    unlike a dry cold desert of rock/sand with almost no water at all.

    right at the end when you see the 747 to the right side parked up it gives you an idea of the real size.

    i imagine the stresses on the joining wing when it lands in cross winds must be quite bad.
    maybe they need separate steering undercarriages for the wheels to avoid that nasty wobble torsion on landing.
    and a massive big droge chute for a controlled short (speed)crash landing rather than a long wobbly breaking fibers landing
    they should have ejector seats for all the crew too.
    they should re-design the nose pilot flight deck so it is completely detachable so it can eject from low or high altitude to land the crew safely.
    ideally interchangeable(mount) with the nose cone pod for vertical lift of elons heavy lift vehicle.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Stratolaunch press release:

    April 13, 2019 Press Release

    World’s largest aircraft takes to the sky for its test flight over Mojave Desert

    MOJAVE, CA – April 13, 2019 – Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, founded by Paul G. Allen, today successfully completed the first flight of the world’s largest all-composite aircraft, the Stratolaunch. With a dual fuselage design and wingspan greater than the length of an American football field, the Stratolaunch aircraft took flight at 0658 PDT from the Mojave Air & Space Port. Achieving a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour, the plane flew for 2.5 hours over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet. As part of the initial flight, the pilots evaluated aircraft performance and handling qualities before landing successfully back at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

    “What a fantastic first flight,” said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch. “Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems. We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today’s flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman’s Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port.”

    The test team conducted standard aircraft testing exercises. Initial results from today’s test points include:

    Performed a variety of flight control maneuvers to calibrate speed and test flight control systems, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips.
    Conducted simulated landing approach exercises at a max altitude of 15,000 feet mean sea level.
    The Stratolaunch aircraft is a mobile launch platform that will enable airline-style access to space that is convenient, affordable and routine. The reinforced center wing can support multiple launch vehicles, weighing up to a total of 500,000 pounds.

    “We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today’s historic achievement,” said Jody Allen, Chair of Vulcan Inc. and Trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust. “The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and we congratulate everyone involved.”

    For more information, please visit www.stratolaunch.com/news-and-features for fact sheet, aerial images and video of first flight. Please also follow @Stratolaunch on Twitter for the latest updates.

    ...............................

    They say that the center wing section is designed to carry a rocket weighing up to 500,000 pounds (250 tons), so it's gotta be pretty strong.

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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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  10. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    "The Martian" was filmed in the Red Desert, Syria, IIRC. I believe they did edit out some plants in that, but it wasn't much work.
     
  11. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    It'll be interesting to see the test flight reaching launch altitude of 35000 ft with a 500,000 pound dummy payload.

    Anyone expect it to not work?
     
  12. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Either way it will be fun to watch.
     
  13. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    memories of the x15
     
  14. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    And that mad bastard nearly killing Neil Armstrong...
     
  15. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Much more work was involved when they edited it to become the Apollo 11 Moon landing

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    Oops thinking of another movie Capricorn One

    Must be coffee time

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  16. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    huh wut?
    Explain please.
     
  17. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    He nearly wrecked during one X-15 flight.
     

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