The biggest bird in the sky

On April 13, a giant took to the skies. With 28 wheels, six engines and a wingspan larger than a football field, this was no ordinary plane. The Stratolaunch has a very special purpose-to place rockets into orbit quickly and cheaply.
The Stratolaunch is the largest plane ever made. The massive scale is required if the craft is to launch rockets into space. On Saturday, the plane made a successful flight-it stayed in the air for two and a half hours, reaching an altitude of 17,000 feet and a maximum speed of 304 kilometres per hour.
This is how it will work: The Stratolaunch is designed to have upto three rockets strapped to its ‘belly’. Once it reaches the right altitude, the rockets will drop, ignite (power on) and shoot off into space with their payloads. Usually, rockets are launched from a spaceport on the ground and require a tremendous amount of energy to lift off. By launching rockets from the belly of a plane, instead of vertically from a launch site, the company hoped to reduce the cost of space missions.
The company behind Straolaunch was founded by Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft, the American software company. Allen’s dream was to use the plane to help make getting satellites, and possibly people, into space more affordable and accessible.