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StratoLaunch: WOW!

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SarK0Y    37

Actually, it looks much better then Musk's way, but no cigar too: payload upon LEO will be barely above 10 metric tonnes. Real fall of launch cost down needs new rocket engines, more efficient in comparison with state-of-the-art. In fact, classical ones have the limit below 16.666.. % of efficiency. :)

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DocM    16,433

http://www.geekwire.com/2017/paul-allen-ginormous-stratolaunch-super-plane/amp/

 

Billionaire Paul Allen hopes his ‘ginormous’ Stratolaunch plane will fly this year



The world’s biggest airplane is staying on track to take to the air for the first time by the end of this year, according to Paul Allen, who made billions of dollars as Microsoft’s co-founder and is now spending millions of dollars on the Stratolaunch air-launch system.

Allen provided an update on Stratolaunch and dropped hints about future space endeavors today during an interview at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, where professors, students and VIPs celebrated Allen’s $40 million gift to UW’s 50-year-old computer science program,

Most of the interview was devoted to Allen’s reflections on how computer technology has changed since he and his high-school friends took advantage of the UW’s computer lab on the sly in 1971. But the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist also was clear about his commitment to the Stratolaunch project, which was unveiled back in 2011.

The key to the launch system is a twin-fuselage plane that incorporates parts from two Boeing 747 jets, with a wingspan that stretches out to a record-setting 385 feet. That’s twice the wingspan of a 747, and more than the length of a football field.

“It is … I can’t even figure out the right adjective. Is it ‘ginormous’? I don’t know,” Allen joked. “It’s pretty darn big. The tail is 50 feet high, just the tail. It’s probably the biggest carbon-composite vehicle ever constructed.”

Scaled Composites, the company that built the SpaceShipOne rocket plane with Allen’s backing more than a decade ago, is assembling the Stratolaunch plane inside a 103,000-square-foot hangar at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port. “The plane is really coming along,” Allen said. “We’re going to hopefully be flying it later this year.”

After flight testing, Stratolaunch is destined to serve as an air-launch platform. The six-engine plane should be powerful enough to carry rockets weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds up to a high altitude, then drop those rockets to launch payloads into orbit from midair. OrbitalATK has agreed to build the rockets, and there could be other launch partners as well.

“One of the unique things about Stratolaunch is that it doesn’t require a fixed launch pad,” Allen explained. “You can imagine systems that are very flexible for missions where you want to launch satellites at different orbits, from different angles. … Then there’s the fact that just doing an air launch gives you an advantage of probably 30 percent in performance.”

Stratolaunch was created to help fill a rising need for launch capacity.

“Now you’re seeing so many more applications of satellites to watch things happening on the ground,” Allen explained. “In my case, I’m interested in things like watching illegal fishing, watching the changes to our biosphere from orbit. … The demand for these small satellites is increasing dramatically. Who’s going to capture the market? We have some unique approaches.”

Some tech billionaires, such as Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon and Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla), have already been in on high-profile meetings with President Donald Trump to lay out their agenda for innovation. So far, Allen has kept a lower profile – but the self-described “Idea Man” hinted that he might share some innovations of his own on the policy front.

“Especially in the areas related to, perhaps, some space things, there might be something in the cards in the future,” Allen said. “There’s nothing I’m going to talk about today, but clearly, I think everybody who’s on the frontiers of science sees the challenges the planet’s going to encounter. … All of us who care about the world going forward would like to engage the government more.”

 

IMG_20170310_152725.thumb.jpg.0e308e148bb723dbc6c6509eb39a305f.jpg

 

IMG_20170310_152733.thumb.jpg.c20560407ccc59acc08d3cd71fbd6ff4.jpg

 

IMG_20170310_152740.thumb.jpg.8f812e0bbeceb62dbf0b96a2c2017509.jpg

 

IMG_20170310_152748.thumb.jpg.4d0007aae0e55c797fc33b20415e02ea.jpg

 

IMG_20170310_152857.thumb.jpg.1ffa479a378b54043c02114e6dfa98c8.jpg

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DocM    16,433

Enter: the ROC !!

 

Wingspan: 385 feet/117 meters
Length: 285 feet/86.87 meters
Tail height: 50 feet/15.24 meters
Payload: 250 tonnes
GTOW: 590 tonnes
Power: 6x PW4056

 

IMG_4476.thumb.JPG.f496b2a07c2ad1bb7a0b2cd5f6658adb.JPG

 

IMG_4472.thumb.jpg.539a4a480d56a3d87c8560952516914a.jpg

 

IMG_4473.thumb.jpg.eb9e5de7f3eaa12e1375938ef877681e.jpg

 

IMG_4475.thumb.jpg.76110d73a8f3f9a9e00699567b306e5f.jpg

 

Edited by DocM
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wrack    454

That is one monster launch vehicle plane :)

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+John.    1,395

hooooooly hell!

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DocM    16,433

And....they've been talking about a big cargo pod which could be mounted in place of the rocket(s)

 

 

Edited by DocM

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Beittil    571

Might be just me, but man that thing is ugly :p

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Mugwump00    183

How is that not going to twist apart?   It looks weirdly stress-prone.

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+John.    1,395
8 hours ago, Beittil said:

Might be just me, but man that thing is ugly :p

It doesn't have to be pretty, just needs to serve a purpose!

 

7 hours ago, Mugwump00 said:

How is that not going to twist apart?   It looks weirdly stress-prone.

The controls will be linked and controlled by only one cockpit (I assume), which makes it no different from any other aircraft with a twin-boom design. 

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DocM    16,433
9 hours ago, Mugwump00 said:

How is that not going to twist apart?   It looks weirdly stress-prone.

Building on a legacy of twin boom aircraft dating back to at least the 1937 Abrams P-1 Explorer, Scaled Composites has built several of the rather well populated species - which includes civil, military transport and combat aircraft. Some had the booms connected by a broad tail, but the largest did not.

 

Abrams P-1 Explorer

AAAvlcsnap-2014-07-19-21h44m23s169.jpg

 

Proteus - successful

Jones0041c.JPG

 

Global Flyer - successful. Circumnavigated the Earth, non-stop.

600px-Virgin-globalflyer-040408-06cr.jpg

 

White Knight One - successful

spaceshipone5.thumb.jpg.1a0ee4a65a0b6e00bca7bb3b5425b553.jpg

 

White Knight Two - successful

Avioes_Bizarros_Aviao_Bizarro_Aeronaves_Bizarras_Estranhas_Scaled_Composites_White_Knight_Two.thumb.jpg.3526fd56f6e030d01bbe600893ff0ba0.jpg

 

Spacecraft

 

SpaceShip One - successful. Won the Ansari X-Prize, and is on display in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum next to the  Bell X-1 (broke the sound barrier) and Lindbergh's Spirit of Saint Louis 

 

062107_dayintech.thumb.jpeg.78bea5887753923f07018a946289e2b8.jpeg

 

SpaceShip Two -  TBD. The first crashed due to co-pilot error, the second is doing test flights.

 

166300865.thumb.jpg.f9d51cb851d13f1d1a40f3b5cbebde6b.jpg

Edited by DocM
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wrack    454

Wow. Thanks for that DocM. Never knew about half of them.

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DocM    16,433

They get one of propulsion engineering's great hired guns....

 

http://www.stratolaunch.com/news/JeffThornburg.html

 

Quote

Stratolaunch Systems Corporation Names Jeff Thornburg Vice President of Propulsion

 

6/8/2017

At Stratolaunch Systems Corp., we galvanize and enable smart people to tackle challenges head-on. I have named Jeff Thornburg as Stratolaunch’s new Vice President of Propulsion. Jeff joined Stratolaunch on May 22. I look forward to working with Jeff to explore new approaches to making access to space more convenient, reliable, and routine.

Jeff is an outstanding engineer and leader who brings a wealth of valuable experience to the team. Prior to joining Stratolaunch, Jeff was founder and President of Interstellar Technologies LLC, an engineering technology development and consulting company focused on technology development, advanced R&D, manufacturing, testing, production and operations for spacecraft, launch vehicles, and propulsion systems.

Prior to forming Interstellar, Jeff was the Senior Director of Propulsion Engineering at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA, and served as the lead engineer and manager of methane engine systems including the Raptor engine development program. Jeff was responsible for the development of the propulsion hardware and facilities used in next generation vehicles and propulsion systems capable of missions beyond Earth orbit, with an eye toward Mars. Jeff also served as the Vice President of Propulsion Engineering at SpaceX overseeing flight, test, development and research operations while also supporting customer interactions, including those with NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

Jeff was also a lead propulsion engineer and turbomachinery technical project manager for the J-2X engine development program at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Recently, the J-2X project has successfully tested both Engine 10001 and 10002, which utilized turbomachinery designed and built during Jeff’s tenure on the J-2X program. Jeff also spent 4 years working for Aerojet as an engineering director for their liquid engine turbomachinery group and served as the site manager for the Aerojet-Woodland Hills engineering office in Woodland Hills, CA.

Jeff started his career in the U.S. Air Force as a flight commander and aircraft maintenance officer on KC-135R tanker aircraft at MacDill AFB, FL. He was selected to attend the Air Force Institute of Technology and earned his Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Jeff was then stationed at Edwards AFB, CA, where he joined the liquid rocket engine branch at the Air Force Research Laboratory where he worked on several component and engine technology programs. His experience there included leadership of the joint Air Force-NASA Integrated Powerhead Demonstration engine. This program performed the world’s first hydrogen full-flow staged combustion cycle engine demonstration. Since his first assignment to Edwards AFB, Jeff has been very fortunate to have built his career working on nearly all liquid engine technology development programs since the Space Shuttle Main Engine.

Jeff has received numerous Air Force and NASA awards including a NASA Space Flight Awareness award, the NASA Made It Happen award, the NASA Stennis Space Center Propulsion Test Director’s Leadership Award, and was an Air Force Research Laboratory Technical Program Manager of the Year.

In addition to his master’s degree, he has a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

I’m proud of the progress the Stratolaunch team has made and I look forward to sharing our progress in the future. We’re excited to have Jeff join our team!

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Oh crap they've got a good one! Nice!

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DocM    16,433

The US military is cozying to several small satellite launchers, all capable of rapidly deploying cookie-cutter optical, IR, multispectral and  and SAR mini-sats.

 

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/air-force-secretary-highlights-military-space-applications-stratolaunch-super-airplane

 


Air Force secretary hints at military space applications for Stratolaunch super-plane

Stratolaunch, the six-year-old space venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says itll use the worlds biggest airplane to launch small satellites into orbit  but what kind of satellites?
The companys executives have always said the Pentagon could be a payload customer, but when Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited Stratolaunchs super-hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Monday, it threw a spotlight on how important military contracts could be.

The twin-fuselage Stratolaunch plane, nicknamed Roc, is designed to carry as much as 550,000 pounds of payload up to an altitude of about 30,000 feet for launch during midflight. The plane can take off from any runway that can accommodate a 385-foot-wide, 1.3-million-pound monster. Satellites can be sent to any orbital inclination at any time, regardless of the weather. Multiple rockets can be launched during a single sortie.

All that may seem like overkill for commercial payloads, but Stratolaunchs capability meshes well with the Pentagons campaign for operationally responsive space  that is, the quick deployment of satellites to monitor a hot spot or provide communications in a crisis.

Stratolaunch spokesman Steve Lombardi did not provide details about Wilsons discussions with company executives, but said her visit made for an exciting day at the hangar.
>

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DocM    16,433

 

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DocM    16,433

This could be interesting,

 

Jeff Thornburg delivered the first major  details about Raptor in testimony before Congress, and he was Tom Mueller's right hand guy during early Raptor development. 

 

http://spacenews.com/nasa-agreement-sign-of-stratolaunch-engine-development-program/

 

Quote

NASA agreement sign of Stratolaunch engine development program

 

WASHINGTON  An agreement to do engine testing at a NASA center is the latest sign that Stratolaunch is considering developing its own launch vehicle for its giant aircraft.

The Space Act Agreement between Stratolaunch and NASAs Stennis Space Center, signed Sept. 13, covers reimbursable testing and related support services to Stratolaunch to support propulsion, vehicle, and ground support system development and testing activities. NASA published the agreement on its website as part of a provision in a NASA authorization act signed into law this year to disclose such agreements.
>
Recent personnel moves suggested that Stratolaunch was looking into developing its own launch vehicle that could be used with its large aircraft currently undergoing testing in California. In June, Stratolaunch hired Jeff Thornburg as vice president of propulsion to explore new approaches to making access to space more convenient, reliable, and routine, according to a statement by Jean Floyd, the companys chief executive.

Thornburg previously worked at SpaceX, where he was the senior director of propulsion engineering and served as the lead engineer on that companys Raptor methane/liquid oxygen engine. He also worked on the J-2X upper stage engine program at NASA as a lead engineer and technical project manager.
 >
>

 

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DocM    16,433

 

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Beittil    571

I can't help but still finding this monstrosity a colossal waste of time... But hey, to each eccentric billionaire his own... 

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DocM    16,433

YouTube version

 

 

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DocM    16,433
Quote


Scaled Composites Taxis Worlds Largest Aircraft

Stratolaunch Aircraft Moves Under Its Own Power

MOJAVE, CA, December 16, 2017:

This past weekend, the Scaled test team successfully executed a low speed taxi test of the Stratolaunch aircraft. During this initial taxi test, the aircraft moved down the runway under its own power for the first time. These first test points have demonstrated the fundamental ability to control the aircraft speed and direction on the runway.

What is it like to move the worlds largest aircraft? Joe Sweat, Project Pilot, commented, It was a lot less intimidating once we had it out there, in terms of how much runway we take up. From a visual standpoint, we had a lot more room than I was anticipating. Getting the airplane moving under its own power was really interesting  just seeing and feeling how the nose wheel steering reacts and how the brakes respond to the inputs.

We have been working with Stratolaunch for the past five years designing, building, and testing the worlds largest aircraft. Paul Allens mission for Stratolaunch is developing an air launch platform to make access to space more convenient, reliable, and routine.

Later taxi testing will include faster speeds and more challenging steering and braking tasks, all in preparation for first flight. It was exciting to see this magnificent machine on the runway for the first time! said Brandon Wood, Test Conductor.

 

Stratolaunch_Roc_taxi-2048.thumb.jpg.36b86ea0eaaaf7f98665a5b8efc66602.jpg

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+Mirumir    5,635

 

 

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DocM    16,433

Whoa....

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/03/06/why-is-paul-allen-building-the-worlds-largest-airplane-perhaps-to-launch-a-space-shuttle-called-black-ice/

 

Quote

Why is Paul Allen building the world’s largest airplane? Perhaps to launch a space shuttle called Black Ice.

>

But Allen has even bigger ambitions for Stratolaunch and is considering pairing it with a new space shuttle that’s known inside the company as Black Ice.

In exclusive interviews last summer, Allen and Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch System's chief executive, laid out the company’s plans for the giant plane, providing an answer to why anyone would want to build an aircraft that has 28 wheels, six 747 jet engines and a wingspan longer than a football field.
>
The Black Ice space plane — should it be built — would be about as big as the former space shuttle developed by NASA and capable of staying up for at least three days. It could be launched from virtually anywhere in the world, as long as the runway could accommodate Stratolaunch’s size. And it would be capable of flying to the International Space Station, taking satellites and experiments to orbit, and maybe one day even people — though there are no plans for that in the near-term.

Then it would land back on the runway, ready to fly again.
>

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DocM    16,433

IMG_20180811_000515.thumb.jpg.a6e82ba293833aae96158f4382a56b15.jpg

 

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DocM    16,433

 


 

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DocM    16,433

 

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