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Paul Allen of Microsoft fame and the man behind Stratolaunch passed away today at the age of 65.
Allen ranked among the world’s wealthiest individuals. As of Monday afternoon, he ranked 44th on Forbes’ 2018 list of billionaires with an estimated net worth of more than $20 billion.
Through Vulcan, Allen’s network of philanthropic efforts and organizations, the Microsoft co-founder supported research in artificial intelligence and new frontier technologies. The group also invested in Seattle’s cultural institutions and the revitalization of parts of the city.
What this will mean for Stratolaunch of course cannot be predicted. Its design — using a giant airplane to air-launch payloads into orbit — is somewhat radical, a fact that generally requires the will and power of a single individual to force it to fruition. Allen’s absence here could make the completion of their effort much more difficult.