Stratolaunch Systems

Stratolaunch

Scaled Composites

Stratolaunch Systems is a space transportation venture specializing in air launch to orbit, with its corporate headquarters located in Huntsville, Alabama. It was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan, who had previously collaborated on the creation of SpaceShipOne (which won the Ansari X-Prize by reaching 100 kilometers in altitude). The newly envisioned launch system will use similar components to that of Virgin Galactic though it will be made for orbital launch instead of suborbital.

The startup will build a mobile launch system with three primary components; a carrier aircraft to be build by Scaled Composites, A multi-stage launch vehicle built by Space Exploration Technologies, and a mating and integration system to be built by Dynetics. Allen and Rutan stated that the carrier craft would have a wingspan of 385 feet (117 m), making it the largest aircraft ever to fly, and will weigh in at over 1,200,000 pounds (540,000 kg). The aircraft will be powered by six turbine engines, sourced from a Boeing 747. It will use a 12,000 feet (3,700 m) long runway and is expected to test fly in 2016.

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