Stratolaunch, the launch-services startup bankrolled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has opened discussions with Orbital Sciences Corp. about modifying one of its rockets for air-launch from the giant airplane it is building with parts from two surplus Boeing 747s. The company turned to Orbital after SpaceX concluded that making the necessary modifications to its Falcon launcher — the original choice for the concept — would not make business sense. “Over the past few months, as ...

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