June 1, 2017
Paul Allen: The one man on earth who had the bold audacity to ask: “what if you took a really huge-ass airplane – and then doubled it?”
Finally, America did something that doesn’t suck.
I’m not really sure what the the goal of lauching a rocket from 30,000 feet is, exactly – as someone who knows very little about rocket science, it seems like you might hit the law of diminishing returns with such a scheme, and maybe it would be made more sense to invest in some other aspect of rocketry.
It sort of sounds like this was maybe just an excuse to get NASA funding to build a giant-ass double airplane for the sake of doing that – but wow.
It is one sonovabitching airplane.
The world’s largest airplane – designed to reshape space travel by launching rockets mid-air into orbit from 30,000 ft – rolled out of its hangar for the first time Wednesday at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the US.
The groundbreaking plane, which looks like two aircraft joined together, is the brainchild of billionaire Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen and his private spaceflight company Stratolaunch. Allen founded the company in 2011 with the goal of making access to low-Earth orbit more “convenient, reliable and routine.”
It has the biggest wingspan of any aircraft ever built, coming in 385ft (117 meters), longer than an NFL field which is 360ft in length.
Aside from it’s unmatched wingspan, the aircraft is 238ft from nose to tail and stands 50ft high on it’s 28 wheels. This is the first time the public has got a look at the spaceplane and now work must begin on testing before its predicted maiden voyage in 2019.
“This marks the completion of the initial aircraft-construction phase and the beginning of the aircraft ground-and flight-testing phase,” Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said in a press release.
“This was a crucial step in preparing the aircraft for ground testing, engine runs, taxi tests and, ultimately, first flight,” he added.
It is probably going to crash, lol.
ELON MUSK STYLE.
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) May 31, 2017
Paul Allen is effectively a poor man’s Musk. Just as self-congratulatory, just as rich for doing something obvious that anyone would have done if he didn’t – but less flashy, and maybe a bit less pompous. Musk would never buy a football team. He’d rather submit a John Carter novel to Barack Obama, claim it’s a scientific plan to stop global warming and get ten trillion to do the research to make it happen.
But that plane tho.