First flight for aircraft with world's longest wingspan

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -

A giant aircraft with the world's longest wingspan took off from California Saturday morning and flew 2 1/2 hours, achieving a maximum speed of 189 mph.

Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said the aircraft made a spectacular landing.

A company press release says he twin-fuselage jet hit altitudes up to 17,000 feet 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 from tip to tip.

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