Skip to comments.Microsoft Co-Founder To Build Giant Plane To Launch People, Cargo Into Space
Posted on 12/13/2011 3:46:04 PM PST by mandaladon
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan are building the worlds biggest plane to help launch cargo and astronauts into space, in the latest of several ventures fueled by technology tycoons clamoring to write Americas next chapter in spaceflight.
Their plans, unveiled Tuesday, call for a twin-fuselage aircraft with wings longer than a football field to carry a rocket high into the atmosphere and drop it, avoiding the need for a launch pad and the expense of additional rocket fuel.
Allen, who teamed up with Rutan in 2004 to send the first privately financed, manned spacecraft into space, said his new project would keep America at the forefront of space exploration and give a new generation of children something to dream about.
We have plenty and many challenges ahead of us, he said at a news conference.
Allen and Rutan join a field crowded with Silicon Valley veterans who grew up on Star Trek and now want to fill a void created with the retirement of NASAs space shuttle. Several companies are competing to develop spacecraft to deliver cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station.
Allen bemoaned the fact that government-sponsored spaceflight is waning.
When I was growing up, Americas space program was the symbol of aspiration, he said. For me, the fascination with space never ended. I never stopped dreaming what might be possible.
Allen and Rutan last collaborated on the experimental SpaceShipOne, which was launched in the air from a special aircraft. It became the first privately financed, manned spacecraft to dash into space in 2004 and later won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for accomplishing the feat twice in two weeks.
(Excerpt) Read more at seattle.cbslocal.com ...
This method saves money by not using rocket fuel to get off the ground. Another older rocket company, Orbital Sciences Corp., uses this method for unmanned rockets to launch satellites.
The rockets will eventually carry people, but the first tests, scheduled for 2016, will be unmanned. It should be another five years before people can fly on the system that Allen and Rutan are calling Stratolaunch..............That's a monster plane !!!
The Graf Zeppelin had a total lift capacity of 87,000 kilograms (191,800 lbs) with a usable payload of 15,000 kg (33,000 lbs) on a 10,000 km (6,200 mi) flight.
Another older rocket company, Orbital Sciences Corp., uses this method for unmanned rockets to launch satellites.
I remember when Orbital Sciences was banned from the Eastern Space and Missile Center aka Cape Canaveral when they violated a Range Safety hold and launched anyway. It was many years before they were allowed to come back again.
With that being said I wish Rutan and Allen all the best.
>> The rockets will eventually carry people... it will blast into orbit after the plane climbs high into the atmosphere.
Microsoft’s initial manned flights will be full of Apple employees... one way.
If THAT works out the way Gates plans, Microsoft will expand the program to include Google employees, too. :-)
Unmanned spaceflight still is.
That would be one big son of a gun!
As usual, CBS is late with the news because I read about this several weeks ago. I wish Paul and Burt luck and hope they succeed. What they’re doing is what America is all about -innovation, experimentation and betting your ass, along with your fortune, that you’ll be successful.
I think we’re gonna need a bigger airstrip...
Damn history rerun: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hughes_H-4_Hercules
Microsoft, doing what NASA used to do........
Nice, but I think SpaceX, started by the owner of PayPal, has a good viable business plan for cheap access to space. They even have a completely reusable design they will attempt to build that will reuse more components than this design will.
If its a Microsoft product, I’m not getting on it until at least Service Pack 2 is deployed.
Here's the photo of scale models of the Hugh's "Spruce Goose" and the Douglas DC-3.
Hope he paints the plain blue.
Given Microsoft’s record in the field of tech, it’ll be the (wait for it)
Blue Plane of Death.
YouTube link showing all:
Argh, too much wine.
I’ve become an Obamaloon.
That’s obviously “plane”, not “plain”.
Although everything from that company is most certainly plain.
Oh great, I can see it now. Hope Rutan’s patience can hold up, with Stratolaunch 1.0, 1.1.5, 2.0, replacement Improvedlaunch 1.0, 1.1.5, 2.0, 2.5.1, 2.5.2, replacement EvenBetterlaunch 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 and four other refinements within three years and two months.
“If Improvedlaunch doesn’t work when you boot up, just shut down and try again.”
“O.S. not found. Please refer to your owner’s manual.”
“You are not authorized as the manager of your equipment. Please contact your administrator.”
“Your system has experienced an error, and is being shut down to save your life. Please open the windows and flap your arms like hell!”
yep...the “Spruce Goose”...made of wood with a wingspan of 320 feet...currently the record and first flew in 1947!!!! AMAZING...having a plane that size now does not seem like such a feat...but using it to launch a rocket is a good idea.