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Stratolaunch Announces Air Carried Launch Vehicles

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posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 04:16 PM
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Stratolaunch has been doing their taxi tests of which there has been plenty of photos taken of their monster. However, everyone has been wondering what they will be using the rocket carrier for. Yes, we knew it was going to be launching rockets, but we have had multiple iterations of which rockets. First it was going to be Musk's Falcon9. Then it was going to an Orbital ATK super Pegasus. Then something else. Most recently, they said they would carry the actual Pegasus and there were rumors of a Black Ice spaceplane.

Stratolaunch decided to come out say what they are doing now.

The current plan is to continue with the Pegasus immediately (370 kg to orbit). The first flight will be in 2020.

Then they will add a medium launch vehicle with a first flight in 2022 (3,400 kg). There will be a follow-on triple core medium lift variant in early development that will place 6,000 kg into LEO. Finally, the Black Ice spaceplane is in the study phase.

I'm really surprised they are not going the route of a Black Horse. A fuel pod would be "easy."

And clearly the SNC DreamChaser is no longer on the table.

www.parabolicarc.com...


edit on 20-8-2018 by anzha because: fixed dates.




posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 04:41 PM
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I'm going to be shocked if they don't have issues with this beast pretty quickly.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 04:48 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I've wondered whether or not Rutan's ideas would scale the high. We shall see.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 05:04 PM
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a reply to: anzha

The bigger issue is how much damage they've already done to it, before it's even flown.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 05:24 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

We will have to wait for the aircraft to attempt lift off to really know that one.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 05:48 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Bandwagoning:

www.thedrive.com...



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 06:10 PM
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It's like they found the world's most expensive way to launch a pegasus rocket...



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 06:22 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Three of them though! At the same time! MURICA!

ahem. So far, yeah. If they can get the other rocket working in a timely fashion, 2022, then it has potential.

If.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 06:51 PM
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a reply to: anzha

It has to be three...
So the customer has even less flexibility to schedule his launch because he needs to wait for two other customers to make it even marginally affordable! Haha

The fact Orbital and SpaceX (neither of whom have a reputation of being excessively conservative) crunched numbers and took a hard pass at partnering tells me this is probably Paul Allen throwing money away because he can. I hope he makes it work, because I love a good show, but the numbers don't look great. As long as it's not my money, I say he should go for broke!

I'm a little surprised the US govt doesn't have a stockpile of Pegasus bodies ready to load payloads on in case the balloon goes up. Or maybe they do, and I just don't know about it.

Put it 's keeping engineers employed and getting experience. And, hey, if the balloon does go up, USAF probably isn't going to bitch too much about the price tag of three Pegasus slung under this thing haha



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 10:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

What leads you to think they've damaged it already?



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 10:12 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

Pictures on social media. They show unpainted panels, missing panels, and scuffing on the skin under the tail.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 10:51 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Northrop (was Orbital) has some Pegasus hardware premade and on hand. Frex, I was working on a project where we were going to buy the upper stage of the Pegasus (called a HAPS) and modify it. They were more than happy to do so for about $3M even with the plumbing changes and added guidance system.

Allen likes airplanes. He liked Rutan. We will see where this goes from here. The nice bit is it can go and launch to almost any inclination you want without the dV penalty you normally get.

Musk pulled out because Musk doesn't play well with others if they are not paying him. This has the potential to eat into his revenue flow (though not much) for SpaceX and his quest to Mars is all. I know the folks who worked on Inspiration Mars and he banned SpaceX from working with the group. Had he not, we would have had a manned Mars flyby this year.

Musk...is Musk.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 11:29 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Orbital had 14 launches since 2000. Air-launching light payloads isn't booming. You don't get substantial gains from air launching.

Like I said, I hope it works out. I like a good show, and I have no dog in the fight. It's certainly feasible. It just doesn't look cost effective.



posted on Aug, 20 2018 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

ouch. that seems pretty unprofessional for an aerospace company



posted on Aug, 21 2018 @ 05:57 AM
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Pretty much ever since the Roc was announced, there have been people making the argument that it is basically a flying Glomar Explorer - that it was being secretly financed by the CIA/NSA/NRO/whomever so that they could launch on need from pretty much any location world-wide.

I gave those arguments some credence until it was announced that Stratolaunch would be using Pegasus for its rocket. The Roc with a Pegasus launch vehicle doesn't get any significant increase in payload compared to using a modified L-1011 like Orbital Sciences does or using a B-52 as was done for the first few Pegasus launches back in the 90s. Even if there was some need to salvo-launch 3 rockets at the same time, it would be easier and cheaper to modify another few L-1011s or - again - just use B-52s.

To me, this announcement makes the prospect of some shadowy government backer of Stratolaunch much more likely. They've developed an expensive aircraft, and now they are proposing developing not one but three expensive rockets. Paul Allen's got money, but we're talking a lot of money being spent on un-proven hardware which, to the best of my knowledge, hasn't yet secured any customers for launch.

I also can't help but notice that 'Black Horse,' the space plane being proposed, shares part of its name with the rumored Blackstar space plane project.

*takes off tinfoil hat and goes to make coffee*



posted on Aug, 21 2018 @ 07:53 AM
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a reply to: PhloydPhan

Combine that with the fact that launching a salvo of 3 Pegasus will allow you an easier way to set up swarms of microsats that a single Pegasus might not be able to put up. This is super applicable in the imaging satellite arena



posted on Aug, 21 2018 @ 10:00 AM
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originally posted by: PhloydPhan
I also can't help but notice that 'Black Horse,' the space plane being proposed, shares part of its name with the rumored Blackstar space plane project.

*takes off tinfoil hat and goes to make coffee*


yeah no
530mph at 35.000ft doesnt get you any concievable reusable spaceplane into orbit.

Stratolaunch Systems will crash and burn. They've got no sustainable business model against SpaceX.



posted on Aug, 21 2018 @ 03:16 PM
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a reply to: PhloydPhan

Black Horse is NOT being proposed. Black Ice is. Black Horse was for a refuelable spaceplane that would take off from a runway and use aerial refueling to actually get most of its propellant. It was a brilliant idea that went nowhere. It could work with the Roc, but it's not Rutan's style, so I am very convinced it will not.

The Roc is a scaled up version of the WhiteKnight carrier. Like SpaceShipTwo, the Black Ice spaceplane will be dropped from the carrier to go to orbit.

More info:

www.parabolicarc.com...

www.wired.com...




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