"I had imagined this moment for years, but I had never imagined it without Paul standing next to me", Floyd said, adding that he whispered a private "thank-you" to Allen as the plane took flight.
The world's largest all-composite aircraft Stratolaunch, which has the capability to several launch vehicles carrying satellites in space in a single mission, on Sunday successfully completed its maiden test-flight over the Mojave desert in the United States.
It has been billed by the company as making satellite deployment as "easy as booking an airline flight". The plane reached speeds of 189 miles per hour (304 km/h) and performed several flight control maneuvers, including "roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips", the manufacturer Stratolaunch said in a statement.
The plane flew Saturday for about two and a half hours, Stratolaunch said.
Its take-off weight is 1.3 million pounds.
Dozens of photographers, industry bloggers and aerospace enthusiasts gathered this week to glimpse the unique twin-fuselage plane. "People want to see what's next".
As taking off from the ground is the most fuel-consuming portion of a rocket launch, the idea of a stratosphere launch is meant to allow for the increase of a rocket's payload, also allowing for a faster turnaround between launches, say specialists at both Stratolaunch and Virgin Orbit, according to a CNBC report. It may one day also launch passenger shuttles into space.
"The rest of the satellites journey will be taken care of by the rocket's engines that would automatically get ignited".
In other words, this isn't your typical airplane. They include the six-engine Antonov AN 225 cargo plane, which is 275.5 feet long, and the Boeing 747-8, which is just over 250 feet long. The event was supported by the Stratolaunch team who were present on the grounds to celebrate the aircraft's successful first flight.