Fans were rapt at the release of the first trailer for Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker last week, but they won’t have to wait long to see just how much human ingenuity has grown to mirror some of the flying structures of the famous franchise.
Spectators in the Mojave Desert were amazed as the largest plane on the planet—built and named for the company Stratolaunch—took to the skies for the first time. The flight comes eight years after construction on the plane began. The structure weighs over 500 thousand pounds and bears a whopping 385 foot wingspan.
Though the plane has plenty of space, it’s not designed for commercial flight.
Instead, Stratolaunch hopes to begin launching satellite-bearing rockets by 2022.
While the plane’s two cockpits and wide wings may seem unwieldy, pilots were more than satisfied with the first test. Pilot Evan Thomas assured reporters that
“The systems on the airplane ran like a watch.”
People were amazed at the plane’s ambition and build.
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) April 13, 2019
Now that merits a WOW!!
— RIAT Air Ops (@RIATAirOps) April 13, 2019
— Jaime Cordova (@jaimecor_94) April 13, 2019
While the moment was ultimately triumphant, there was a bittersweet element.