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Stratolaunch Mobile Launch System

Stratolaunch Mobile Launch System

In 2004, Paul Allen and Burt Rutan created a privately funded effort that developed SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X-Prize of $10M for a reusable commercial suborbital spacecraft. Now they have a new venture called Stratolaunch Systems which uses a large “carrier” aircraft to launch a two stage rocket capable of reaching low Earth orbit. The carrier plane has a wingspan of nearly 400 feet and is powered by six 747 class engines. The launch rocket has a payload goal of 13,000 pounds.

Stratolaunch Systems – [stratolaunchsystems.com]

Stratolaunch Systems, a Paul G. Allen project, is developing an air-launch system that will revolutionize space transportation by providing orbital access to space at lower costs, with greater safety and more flexibility. Delivering payloads in the 10,000lbm class into low earth orbit, the system allows for maximum operational flexibility and payload delivery from several possible operational sites, while minimizing mission constraints such as range availability and weather.

The air-launch system is made up of four primary elements: a carrier aircraft, a multi-stage booster, a mating and integration system, and an orbital payload. Initial efforts will focus on unmanned payloads; however, human flights will follow as safety, reliability, and operability are demonstrated.

Stratolaunch Press Kit – [stratolaunchsystems.com]

Stratolaunch Systems, A Paul G. Allen Project – [youtube.com]

Ansari X PRIZE – [xprize.org]

On October 4, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured the world’s attention when we awarded the largest prize in history, the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, to Scaled Composites for their craft SpaceShipOne.

To win the prize, famed aerospace designer Burt Rutan and financier Paul Allen led the first private team to build and launch a spacecraft capable of carrying three people to 100 kilometers above the earth’s surface, twice within two weeks.

Spaceflight was no longer the exclusive realm of government. With that single flight, and the winning of the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, a new industry was born.

Lunar X-Prize

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