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

A Century of Aviation Week

Aviation Week & Space Technology is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 26, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused of Treason -- The Back Story Revealed 7

A 1957 revelation that the U.S. was tracking Soviet missile launches from a secret radar in Turkey has its roots in sleuthing of students from Kettering Grammar School in the UK....More
Aug 23, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused Of Treason 23

Aviation Week editors routinely get blowback when they write about sensitive topics, and the best example of that may be an October 1957 story that revealed the U.S. had been tracking Russian missile launches from advanced long-range radar units in Turkey....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×