Tag Archives: Paul Allen

Stratolaunch update

This article about Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch company notes that the payload the system will put in orbit is likely to be less than originally hoped.

Still to be determined are the manned and cargo craft Stratolaunch will eventually send to orbit or even the International Space Station, Beames said. Musk’s SpaceX, an initial partner, is no longer associated with the venture. The rocket produced by Orbital ATK Inc., which replaced SpaceX, will probably be smaller than the medium-lift vehicle with a 6,000 kilogram (13,000-pound) payload that Stratolaunch had initially planned, Beames said. “I think it’s more likely we’ll be targeting a smaller payload class,” Beames said. “We’re not announcing anything on that yet.”

Allen’s company, Vulcan Aerospace, is also demanding that ULA change the name of its new Vulcan rocket, just revealed yesterday.

Stratolaunch airplane 40% complete

The competition heats up: Stratolaunch has revealed that construction of the gigantic airplane — the largest ever to fly — that will take its rockets into the air is now about 40% complete.

The first flight is still scheduled for 2016. The article also includes some good analysis which indicates the competitive problems Stratolaunch faces:

Its Orbital Sciences-supplied solid-fuel rocket will be able to carry 15,000 pounds to low Earth orbit. But this is about half the lift of the competing SpaceX Falcon 9 and just 30 percent that of a Boeing-built Delta IV. Stratolaunch will be able to orbit only smaller satellites.

Nonetheless, watching this mother-ship take off will be quite breath-taking.

Rutan, Allen, Musk, Griffin team up to develop an air-launch rocket system to fire hardware and humans into orbit.

Superstars of space: Rutan, Allen, Musk, and Griffin have teamed up to develop an air-launch rocket system to fire hardware and humans into orbit.

Their concept calls for Rutan, a noted aircraft designer, to create a carrier jet with a 385-foot wingspan and six engines to ferry a liquid-fueled, 120-foot-long rocket built by SpaceX and outfitted with five main engines to altitude where the winged booster will be released for launch into orbit.