A Stratolaunch Systems-built aircraft designed to facilitate air launches of rockets to deliver satellites into orbit could perform its maiden flight as early as this summer, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Company officials told reporters at the Space Symposium that taxi tests are now underway and that the aircraft could be ready for its initial flight soon.
The Stratolaunch plane is built to launch rockets at an altitude of approximately 35,000 feet and has six Boeing 747 engines, a 385-foot-long wingspan and a maximum liftoff weight capacity of 1.3 million pounds.
The company, which Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen established in 2011, performs development work on Stratolaunch at a Mojave, California-based facility.
Update on the aircraft came nearly two months after Stratolaunch completed a ground-based control test.