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7th May 2019, Alpharetta, GA

World’s largest aircraft flies for the first time

The aircraft achieved a maximum speed of 189 mph at an altitude of 17,000 feet. © Stratolaunch

The aircraft achieved a maximum speed of 189 mph at an altitude of 17,000 feet. © Stratolaunch

Solvay is proud to congratulate Scaled Composites for successfully flying the Stratolaunch aircraft for the first time over the Mojave Desert. This twin-fuselage aircraft is the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan and was designed to air launch rockets into space.

Solvay’s innovative out-of-autoclave prepreg technology is extensively used on the primary structure of the Stratolaunch aircraft: Solvay’s VTM 264 was utilised to manufacture the plane’s fuselage, wing skins, empennage, ribs, spars and bulkheads. “We wish Scaled Composites and Stratolaunch Systems Corporation success on the next steps of the programme,” the company reports.

The aircraft took off from the Mojave Air Space Port (MASP), achieved a maximum speed of 189 mph at an altitude of 17,000 feet. The test flight, which lasted two and a half hours, was meant to test the aircraft’s performance and handling – all of which were successful.

“What a fantastic first flight,” said Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch. “Today’s flight furthers our mission to provide a flexible alternative to ground launched systems. We are incredibly proud of the Stratolaunch team, today’s flight crew, our partners at Northrup Grumman’s Scaled Composites and the Mojave Air and Space Port.”

Founded by Paul Allen in 2011, the Stratolaunch aircraft is designed to enable airport-style operations that will make access to space more convenient, affordable and routine. “We all know Paul would have been proud to witness today’s historic achievement,” said Jody Allen, Chair of Vulcan and Trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust. “The aircraft is a remarkable engineering achievement and I congratulate everyone involved.”

Solvay’s new Global Business Unit Composite Materials is a provider of technologically advanced lightweighting material solutions that enable its customers in the aerospace, automotive and other demanding industries to design, develop and efficiently manufacture high-quality, high-performance and complex composite structures.

Composite Materials has an extensive product portfolio, including prepregs, resin systems, adhesives and surfacing films, carbon fibre, textiles, tooling and vacuum bagging consumables, thanks to its leadership in advanced materials science, chemistry and application engineering. Solvay Composite Materials combines the former Cytec Aerospace Materials and Industrial Materials businesses.

www.solvay.com

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