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Stratolaunch Reportedly Shuts Down Leaving World's Largest Plane With An Uncertain Future

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posted on Sep, 20 2019 @ 09:20 AM
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a reply to: anzha

Watch it be SpaceX purchasing it to transport Starship and Superheavy components between their different launch facilities. Can it sling-load a 9-meter diameter payload?




posted on Sep, 20 2019 @ 11:32 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

Fun fact, at one point they were planning to launch Falcon rockets with the Stratolaunch vehicle.



posted on Sep, 20 2019 @ 12:05 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Well, if it's true, I'm almost as glad they found someone to throw money at it as I am that it wasn't my money.



posted on Sep, 20 2019 @ 04:55 PM
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originally posted by: anzha

I saw #Stratolaunch’s hanger doors were open this morning while shooting Stargazer’s departure, you better believe I took photos.

Looks like some work is being done on Roc! Could it be that the story isn’t over yet?


Seems they might have found investors to keep the doors open.

www.parabolicarc.com...


I saw that. It could also be just routine MRO to keep it in flyable/sellable condition



posted on Sep, 26 2019 @ 07:20 PM
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Looks like they may be giving it a go and are rebuilding the team

www.geekwire.com...



posted on Oct, 11 2019 @ 01:26 PM
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They're back.

www.parabolicarc.com...



posted on Oct, 11 2019 @ 03:22 PM
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Bit odd how quiet the new ownership is about the acquisition. "Global Marine Development" is defunct, but maybe they found a spiritual ancestor (you can Google it if you don't get the reference).

But good for them for making a go of it.



posted on Oct, 11 2019 @ 08:55 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

My question is what military use might even exist for stratolaunch to be a public cover for. I can't imagine anything that wouldn't already have its own purpose-built launch vehicle, unless the dod wanted to pull the curtain back on a specific orbital vehicle without declassifying the launcher aircraft.

The secrecy almost makes me think it could be Blue Origin.
edit on 11-10-2019 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 11 2019 @ 09:38 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby


NRO, CIA, DOD might enjoy being able to launch small constellations with a short lead time. Lead time for commercial launches is in the dozens of months scale. These are really the only customers who can justify the costs. If they get something that works successfully mated, then it's another card in your hand to play if needed. Similar reasons to why Relativity Space was granted an exclusive lease at Stennis. There is a push to drive lead times (and costs) down for launches. Those efforts are getting money, either directly with investment or subsidies or in exchange for other services which fund the efforts.
If the balloon goes up, there is going to be a demand for rapid and frequent launches of small, cheap attritible sats for everything from various forms of surveillance/ELINT, to providing datalinks, to GPS, to weather satellites.

But (economically viable) peacetime uses are slim to none, imo.



posted on Oct, 12 2019 @ 07:13 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

I feel like Orbital/Northrop would be the obvious choice for a purchaser of Stratolaunch, and it would be relatively simple to build an Omega or Minotaur derivative that could be air-launched from it as well in addition to the obvious Pegasuses. Solids would make perfect sense here as their long shelf lives and short pre-launch lead times would have great synergies with Stratolaunch's quick-launch abilities.

Then again, Northrop/Orbital is a publicly-traded company and I have a hard time seeing them dropping $400 million on Stratolaunch without announcing it publicly.



posted on Oct, 12 2019 @ 08:08 AM
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originally posted by: Barnalby
a reply to: RadioRobert

My question is what military use might even exist for stratolaunch to be a public cover for. I can't imagine anything that wouldn't already have its own purpose-built launch vehicle, unless the dod wanted to pull the curtain back on a specific orbital vehicle without declassifying the launcher aircraft.

The secrecy almost makes me think it could be Blue Origin.


It could be about regaining a capability they had at one point but not anymore. But my money is on some privately held company like Blue Origin too.

As for revealing an existing orbital vehicle, thats not a thing. You cant take the, say Boeing Beta concept vehicle and put it on Stratolaunch. Completely different flight envelopes.



posted on Oct, 12 2019 @ 04:19 PM
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originally posted by: Barnalby
a reply to: RadioRobert

I feel like Orbital/Northrop would be the obvious choice for a purchaser of Stratolaunch, and it would be relatively simple to build an Omega or Minotaur derivative that could be air-launched from it as well in addition to the obvious Pegasuses.

Conventional rockets designed for vertical launch carry stresses much differently than a rocket that is being suspended horizontally. You'd need a massive redesign. Easier and cheaper to start clean sheet and use the existing parts like the engines. And the additional weight is going to cut into the small margins that an air-launch would provide.

More to the point, Pegasus and Minotaur combined represent around 50 launches in the last 25 years. The efforts above represent an awful lot of money thrown at trying to slightly expand an extremely small segment of the market. Does whatever capability promised by Pegasus II studies significantly expand into the commercial market? If Pegasus II represented a much larger market, I don't think Allen would have had to pay Orbital to start developing it, and there would have been a partnership on a joint-project instead of a contract study, imo.

And as, you noted, that kind of acquisition would probably be heavily reported. Especially in light of the hubbub when NG acquired Orbital ATK




Solids would make perfect sense here as their long shelf lives and short pre-launch lead times would have great synergies with Stratolaunch's quick-launch abilities.

Then again, Northrop/Orbital is a publicly-traded company and I have a hard time seeing them dropping $400 million on Stratolaunch without announcing it publicly.


This part is all true. It's most likely going to be a smaller or privately-held company, and since the commercial market is bleak, I'd expect they are getting money in the front or back from the government. Stratolaunch doesn't represent just assets. It also has liabilities and debts on the books.

My bet is Branson's TSC or the parent Virgin Galactic, since many of their designs are already looking at air-launching and they worked with Allen on propulsion -- and TSC was originally a joint-venture with Scaled. They were also originally looking at building several more launch aircraft and are already at Mojave. Picking up an alternative launch-aircraft and all the data and IP (and whatever space they are leasing at Mojave) on the cheap might be appealing if the government is directly or circuitously subsidizing it. And since TSC/Virgin Galactic are known names, it provides a plausible story, just like Hughes' Global Marine.
edit on 12-10-2019 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 12 2019 @ 05:04 PM
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originally posted by: RadioRobert
Does whatever capability promised by Pegasus II studies significantly expand into the commercial market?

I think increasing the payload capacity tenfold should open up and entirely different market segment.
Not that it would helpm them. They'd be going up against reusable rockets and lucrative rideshare options. It would be hopless five years down the line when Starship is operational.



posted on Oct, 12 2019 @ 05:21 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

Exactly. It's a narrow market slice under the best circumstances, and you'll be spending considerable amounts of money and time to get there. That's why Orbital had to be paid to start looking at it.



posted on Dec, 11 2019 @ 03:36 PM
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posted on Dec, 13 2019 @ 02:22 PM
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Cerberus. great. The people that bankrupted Chrysler Corporation, Remington, et al.



posted on Dec, 18 2019 @ 09:11 PM
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posted on Jan, 21 2020 @ 09:30 AM
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www.thedrive.com...

That looks really familiar, huh?

Who is copying who now?



posted on Jan, 23 2020 @ 01:51 PM
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My worry is everything they touch drops the quality of the product significantly.



posted on Mar, 30 2020 @ 09:03 AM
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spacenews.com...

Not sure what the play here is. A Mach 7 bird makes little sense unless they have a gov contract.



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