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Aiming high

The Stratolaunch Project

© by Stratolaunch Systems Corp.

Source | Stratolaunch Systems Corp. | 06 February 2024 1 minute
Stratolaunch, founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, is developing an air-launch platform to make access to space more convenient, reliable, and routine. The men at Stratolaunch believe that normalizing access to low Earth orbit has the potential to redefine our lives by creating more opportunities for commercial, philanthropic and governmental organizations to collect rich and actionable data and drive advancements in science, research, and technology from space.

Stratolaunch is the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan and the largest all-composite plane ever built. Utilizing six Boeing 747 engines for a payload capacity of over 500,000 lbs. and an operational range of approximately 2,000 nautical miles, Stratolaunch is capable of delivering payloads to multiple orbits and inclinations in a single mission. Stratolaunch’s reusability and air-launch capabilities enable us to take an airport-style approach to operations for launch services. Stratolaunch will take off from a runway, rather than a logistically vulnerable fixed range, which allows us to avoid hazards such as inclement weather, airborne traffic and heavy marine activity.

Stratolaunch’s airborne launch platform significantly reduces the risk of costly delays or cancellations. The project is currently under construction at the Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave, Calif. The team is on track to conduct the first launch test by 2019.

Sadly, Paul Allen died in October 2018 at the age of 65 due to the consequences of a long period of cancer.

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