The Paul Allen Company is preparing an orbital plane for launch from Stratolaunch

    In the seventies, Paul Allen and his school friend, Bill Gates, began to conquer the world of computer software. Now Microsoft co-founder conquers space - in 2011, Allen founded the company Stratolaunch Systems.

    Last year, his company introduced a huge Stratolaunch carrier aircraft to accelerate the first stages of rockets. On August 20, the company spoke about the launch vehicles that will be sent into orbit from this aircraft.

    Space race continues. But now not individual countries are competing, but many commercial enterprises that want to gain market share in the delivery of people and goods into space. Around the world, work is underway on carriers . One of the companies with a very unusual project to launch satellites from an airplane from the upper atmosphere is Stratolaunch Systems .

    On May 31, 2017, the company introduced the giant Stratolaunch aircraft to launch rockets into space. Then the plane rolled out of the hangar to test the fuel filling system. The wingspan of the device to 117 meters exceeds the An-225 “Mriya” with its 88.5 m, but the Stratolaunch has never been lifted into the air, therefore it is too early to talk about a record.

    In December 2017, the flight tests of the aircraft began, and in 2020 they are planning to launch a rocket for the first time - this will be Pegasus.


    The American cruise launch vehicle "Pegasus" (Pegasus) was originally designed with the ability to start from an airplane. The L-1011 Stargazer aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Corporation is used as a launching pad for this rocket. At the moment, "Pegasus" successfully launched more than 35 times. On it in space it will be possible to send up to 370 kg of a payload to a 400-kilometer orbit with an inclination of 28.5 °. In the illustration presented by Stratolaunch Systems, three Pegas launch vehicles are shown on the left - so many missiles can launch Stratolaunch simultaneously.

    Further, Stratolaunch plans to send a launch vehicle of its own design - Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV). The new device will be able to put already 3.4 tons of cargo into orbit. The launch is expected for 2022.

    At the third stage, they will test the Medium Launch Vehicle - Heavy rocket. The device, which is still at an early stage of development, will be an improved version of the MLV, capable of lifting 6 tons.

    And the final stage, which will form the entire product line of the company, will be an orbital plane - a reusable device capable of both delivering cargo into orbit and returning it to the ground, with a team of people on board. Judging by the illustrations, the spacecraft will be similar to the Boeing X-37.

    Stratolaunch will launch rockets at an altitude of about 11 kilometers, it can carry a load of up to 250 tons. The plane itself weighs 226.8 tons, its wing span reaches 117 meters, its length is 72 meters, and its height is 15 meters.

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