Stratolaunch to build its own upper stages


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Capitalism in space: Stratolaunch today announced that it is designing and building three differently-sized upper stage rockets to attach to the fuselage of its giant Roc airplane.

Beside the Pegasus rocket, owned by Northrop Grumman, aimed for first flight in 2020, Stratolaunch will build a medium and medium-heavy rockets, with the former set for a 2022 flight, as well as a fully reusable space plane, now in early development.

The space plane concept would apparently be capable of taking payloads up and down from orbit, and could therefore become the first totally reusable launch capability.

Overall, it does appear that the company, unable to find someone else to design its upper stage, has been forced to do it itself.

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2 comments

  • m d mill

    This is great news. Stratolaunch finally makes sense. I have considered here many times that this is the most efficient way to go, by far, for medium weight payloads. Essentially, you do away with the first (largest, most expensive) stage, and replace it with a reusable aircraft using jet fuel.

  • m d mill

    Although i still cannot understand why the ROC’s rear horizontal stabilizer was not extended all the way across, perhaps at the top of the vertical stabilizers…all for much greater mechanical rigidity.

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