Stratolaunch completes taxi test at 80 mph

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Capitalism in space: Stratolaunch this week completed a series of taxi tests with its giant airplane Roc, reaching speeds as much as 80 mph.

This is a little less than half the speed required for take-off. It also appears that they are proceeding very cautiously with these taxi tests, increasing the speed with each new test by small amounts, about 20 to 40 mph.

The big moment will of course be when this giant plane actually takes off. It appears that might happen within a month or so.



  • Cotour

    Why do I want to see that tail section joined?

    I can’t help it.

    It would make me feel so much better about this plane.

  • fred


    Yeah, I wonder about the side to side oscillations of the fuselages. All the stresses have to be handled in the wing box.

    Imagine this if/when one side lands slightly before the other.

  • Chris

    I think I said this previously, I am not sure the variables that are required for flight are observable. The sensors can only be in the fuselages or the wings. I would think that they want to control the virtual center of the airframe above the wings. In this aircraft that is air. The may be calculating the this variable form other sensors but they don’t have direct measurement. I think this is a problem in my. Humble opinion.

  • Gealon

    I am still waiting to see this thing’s wing twist apart because they have such engineering short-sightedness to put form above function. I have been saying if over and over, without a single, joined tail, this monster will oscillate and it will rip it’s self apart. I’m glad others here see that but it’s a shame none of the people working on it do.

  • Cotour

    And, they are going to have a massive load on that sole wing box, take off and reach altitude and then release that load and then land. Lots going on there.

    Admittedly that central wing must have immense strength designed into it, and the controls will all be computer controlled to compensate for the turbulence and stresses that it will certainly encounter, but I would still like to see that tail joined for stability and symmetry purposes.

    I just wonder why the tails have been left un-joined. Is there a performance or mission critical payload purpose that it serves in remaining separate?

    Just a back seat driver opinion, I have great respect for Burt Rutan and the people that he has working on this project.

  • Cotour

    Sometimes details like whether the tail is one piece or not is just a side conversation:

    Just like Jobs, when your number is called you move on to bigger and more interesting things.

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