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The competition heats up: Stratolaunch is now considering widening its options for the upper stage that can be attached to its giant airplane.
[Chuck Beames, president of Seattle-based Vulcan Aerospace, the parent company of Stratolaunch Systems] said the interest in alternative launch options is driven by the growing interest in small satellites, for which the current Stratolaunch system is oversized. A smaller vehicle, he said, could be developed more quickly and less expensively. “It takes a more near-term focus on revenue generation,” he said.
Stratolaunch could eventually support several launch vehicles, he said, with varying payload capabilities to serve different customers. “We’ll likely have multiple launch vehicle options,” he said. “Some will be available earlier than others.”
It appears they are revising their launch system airplane into a modular design with a variety of upper stages, depending on customer. Note also the focus on the growing small satellite industry.