Stratolaunch quietly making progress

Stratolaunch Systems, a Paul Allen project developing a commercial air launch space access system, is quietly starting up production inside its recently opened 88,000 square ft. site at Mojave, Calif. The facility is laying up the first parts of the enormous composite wing and fuselage sections of the 385-ft span carrier aircraft which will carry the Orbital Sciences-built multi-stage booster to launch altitude. Provisional details of the booster itself have also been revealed by Orbital. Measuring around 128 ft. long, the payload will be encased in a 16.4 ft. diameter fairing. Gross lift off (or drop) weight is expected to be over 465,000 lb, with the air launch vehicle (ALV) able to deliver 13,200lb to low earth orbit and 9,900 lb. to a highly inclined (HIO) orbit. Flight testing of the 6-engined carrier aircraft is expected to begin in 2016 with first launch of the ALV in 2018.

blog post photo

ALV with carrier in background (Guy Norris), and (below) a closer view of the booster fairing and fin/wing configuration.

blog post photo

Please or Register to post comments.

What's On Space?

On Space

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Oct 8, 2015

The Case Of The Missing F-117 Parts (2001) 24

How AW&ST found out what had happened to the remains of a shot-down F-117....More
Sep 18, 2015

The U.S.-Russian Moon Landing That Never Happened (1963) 9

U.S. President John F. Kennedy is well known for the 1961 speech to Congress in which he made the Apollo program a national goal....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×