Stratolaunch: Microsoft co-founder’s dream took off from the Mojave Desert (vid./pics)

A giant aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan took off from California Saturday morning at 12:30 p.m. and flew 2 ½ hours, achieving a maximum speed of 189 mph (304 kph). Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said the aircraft made a spectacular landing, Associated Press report says.

A company press release said the twin-fuselage jet hit altitudes up to 17,000 feet (5,181 meters) above the Mojave Desert while performance and handling qualities were evaluated.

Founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, Stratolaunch is vying to be a contender in the satellite launch market. The aircraft is designed to release rockets attached to the center of its enormous wing, which stretches 385 feet (117 meters) from tip to tip.

Floyd said in a teleconference briefing that it was amazing to “watch this majestic bird take flight” and he whispered a “thank-you” to Allen, who died in October 2018.

The giant aircraft with the world’s longest wingspan landed after its first ever flight at 10:20 a.m. The twin-fuselage Stratolaunch jet landed two hours after taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port early Saturday.