Stratolaunch Systems Corp. chief executive Jean Floyd said Saturday the aircraft made a "spectacular" landing that was on the mark.
During the first flight that took place from Mojave Air and Space Port, Stratolaunch achieved a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour.
This handout photograph obtained courtesy of Stratolaunch shows the Stratolaunch plane flying over the California desert, April 13, 2019, the first test flight of the U.S. company's huge aircraft whose wingspan is nearly half that of an Airbus A380. And the payload would sit under the conjoined center wing, which is created to carry up to 500,000 pounds. The goal for Stratolaunch is to provide an alternative launch platform for satellites other than rockets like SpaceX's Falcon 9 or SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket-which had its first successful test flight this week as well. "Evan specializes in experimental flight test, aviation and test safety, aircraft stability and control testing as well as operational leadership", says an official.
The company is now developing four different rocket systems, which can be launched to space from the center wing part of the aircraft.
The aircraft is meant to carry satellites about twice as high as this test brought it - 36,000 feet (10,970 m) - at which point it would become a mobile launch pad of sorts by releasing the satellites and their launchers into orbit.
An audience cheers the first, historic flight of Stratolaunch. Until now, it had just carried out tests on the ground. And for the most part, the airplane flew as predicted which is again exactly what we want.
The aircraft is created to carry as many as three satellite-laden rockets at a time under the center of its enormous wing, which stretches 385 feet - a longer wingspan than any other aircraft.
The airplane's six Pratt & Whitney engines and 28-wheel landing gear were originally designed for Boeing 747s, but aerospace company Scaled Composites worked alongside Stratolaunch and repurposed three 747s to put it together.
The Stratolaunch aircraft emerged from its Mojave hangar for the first time in May 2017 and proceeded through ground tests, including taxiing and rolling down a runway at near-takeoff speeds.