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The world’s largest plane just flew for the first time

world's largest plane

 Built by rocket launch company Stratolaunch, the 500,000-pound plane with a 385-foot wingspan lifted off shortly after 10AM ET from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. It’s a critical first test flight for the aircraft, designed to launch rockets into orbit from the air.

The inaugural flight is expected to last a few hours. The dual-fuselage Stratolaunch is designed to fly to an altitude of 35,000 feet, where it can drop rockets that ignite their engines and boost themselves into orbit around the planet. There is no rocket on this particular flight. But the company has already signed at least one customer, Northrop Grumman, which plans to use Stratolaunch to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space.

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The aircraft’s wingspan measures 385 feet — wider than any airplane on the planet. From tip to tail, it’s 238 feet long. It weighs half a million pounds. It’s so big, it has two cockpits, one in each fuselage (but only one is used to fly the plane.)

The company’s unique air-launch system will use the world’s largest aircraft as a mobile launch platform, capable of deploying launch vehicles that will carry satellites to multiple orbits and inclinations on a single mission. With these new vehicles, Stratolaunch is poised to make access to space convenient, affordable, and routine.

The updated launch offering from Stratolaunch includes the following vehicles:

  • Pegasus: With its existing track record of over 35 successful launches, Pegasus provides dependable access to orbit.
    • Capability: 370 kg payload* for a single or triple configuration
    • Status: Flight proven, integration and testing ongoing with first flight in 2020
  • Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV): A new medium-class air-launch vehicle optimized for short satellite integration timelines, affordable launch and flexible launch profiles.
    • Capability: 3,400 kg payload*
    • Status: In development with first flight in 2022
  • Medium Launch Vehicle – Heavy: A three-core MLV variant with capability to deploy heavier payloads to orbit.
    • Capability: 6,000 kg payload*
    • Status: Early development
  • Space Plane: A fully reusable space plane that enables advanced in-orbit capabilities and cargo return. Initial designs optimized for cargo launch, with a follow-on variant capable of transporting crew.
    • Capability: Medium-class payload or crew
    • Status: Design study
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Airlines

Korean Air Rolls Out Next-Generation Business Class: ‘Prestige Suites 2.0’

Korean Air Rolls Out Next-Generation Business Class: ‘Prestige Suites 2.0’

Korean Air has introduced its latest business class offering, the Prestige Suites 2.0, set to make its debut aboard the airline’s new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner fleet.

This new product marks a significant upgrade from the previous Collins Apex forward-facing staggered seats, known as Prestige Suites. The Prestige Suites 2.0 is designed in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, ensuring each passenger direct aisle access and ample privacy.

The seats offer 46 inches of pitch, 21 inches of width, and can be transformed into a flat bed measuring between 78.2 and 79.2 inches. A standout feature of these seats is the inclusion of privacy doors that stand 52 inches high, offering a more secluded experience even when positioned closer to the aisle.

Tech-savvy travelers will appreciate the suite’s cutting-edge features, which include a 23.8-inch ultra-high-definition entertainment monitor, 60W USB-C charging, AC power outlets, and wireless charging capabilities.

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Moreover, Korean Air’s Boeing 787-10s will be the first in the fleet to offer Wi-Fi, enhancing connectivity for passengers. The new business class seats come with a range of amenities aimed at maximizing comfort and convenience. These include a storage cubby, a handheld remote, USB-C charging ports, and universal outlets.

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The wireless charging pad is a notable highlight, reflecting the suite’s advanced technological integration. The layout of the Prestige Suites 2.0 comprises 10 rows of seats in a 1-2-1 arrangement, specifically rows 7-16 in the business class cabin. The cabin is flanked by lavatories and galleys at both the front and the rear, ensuring easy access for all passengers.

A striking departure from Korean Air’s traditional design, the new seats feature a bold brown color palette. This is a significant change from the airline’s iconic Morning Calm blue and bright white interiors.

The new design incorporates semi-matte deep brown side consoles with metallic tops, brushed coppery-almond cabinet doors, and textured tan interior shrouds, giving the cabin a modern and sophisticated look.

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