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View Full Version : New Stratolaunch plane will take people into Earth’s orbit



Ron Czapala
12-13-2011, 11:47 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/stratolaunch-plane-people-earth-orbit-203001086.html

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is teaming up with aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan to build a giant machine that is part airplane and part spaceship.
The new vehicle will be able to transport people and cargo into Earth's orbit and is scheduled to be commercially available by 2016.

Unlike traditional rockets, the Stratolaunch will not require a launch pad for liftoff.
Instead, the plane will ascend to a heightened elevation--and then the rocket portion of the craft will release and blast the ship into space.

Powered by six 747 engines, the new craft should also be far more fuel efficient than traditional shuttle launches, since it will bypass the standard supply of expensive rocket fuel needed to propel a shuttle up from the ground.
The craft will also be enormous, with a wingspan of 385 feet, (making it larger than a football field) while weighing 1.2 million pounds.

And the Stratolaunch will not be restrained by the factors that normally dictate when a shuttle can launch into space from the ground.
Allen and Rutan are competing with other private companies in a race to deliver people and goods to the International Space Station, now that NASA has cancelled its space shuttle program.

The pair are teaming up with another Internet mogul, Elon Musk, founder of PayPal and Tesla, who is providing funds for the spaceship and booster components.
Allen is no stranger to space exploration, having already won the Ansari X Prize in 2004, for his sponsorship of a craft that went into space but not into orbit. If all goes to plan, the Stratolaunch program will be involved in satellite transport--while also promoting space tourism.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh29Pm1Rrc0

Bill Chennault
12-14-2011, 01:56 AM
Ron--

This is a way-cool thing. With Paul Allen's involvement, it may indeed "fly." But, the biggest news is the competition . . . all of it. Competition among commercial concerns to get into space will ensure our place in space.

I've got my fingers and toes crossed for the February launch of SpaceX's docking mission to the ISS!

--Bill

Ron Czapala
12-14-2011, 03:16 AM
Ron--

This is a way-cool thing. With Paul Allen's involvement, it may indeed "fly." But, the biggest news is the competition . . . all of it. Competition among commercial concerns to get into space will ensure our place in space.

I've got my fingers and toes crossed for the February launch of SpaceX's docking mission to the ISS!

--Bill

Are there any rockets/vehicles capable of heavy loads comparable to what the space shuttle could handle?

Jorge P
12-14-2011, 06:23 AM
I believe the SpacePort America is finished or nearly finished, http://www.spaceportamerica.com/

Bill Chennault
12-14-2011, 03:41 PM
Ron--

SpaceX's Falcon 9 series has a post-shuttle heavy lift configuration. Take a look at the SpaceX site (http://www.spacex.com/falcon9.php) and the Falcon 9 User's Guide.

--Bill

wjsteele
12-14-2011, 06:25 PM
Are there any rockets/vehicles capable of heavy loads comparable to what the space shuttle could handle?

Actually, there are several rockets that easily carry that much payload... in fact, the Shuttle wasn't anywhere near the tops of what could be carried. The Russians have the Energia rocket that can carry a 200000lb payload and was also designed to carry their version of the Shuttle, the Buran, into orbit with it's 12.5 ton cargo on board. (Similar to the Shuttle Launch Stack.)

Another example is the Atlas V, which can carry almost 65,000 lbs to orbit. In fact, it can place 29,000 lbs in geostationary orbit... which the shuttle couldn't even place in low earth orbit.

By the way, the Saturn V rocket put all other rockets to shame in regards to it's lifting capability... it could place a jet liner into orbit... around the moon!

Bill

Heater.
12-14-2011, 06:58 PM
Burt Rutan had to go down in my all time list of heros.
Google his name if you don't know why.

ctwardell
12-14-2011, 07:03 PM
Burt Rutan had to go down in my all time list of heros.
Google his name if you don't know why.

Yeah, I guess he's just an idiot for not drinking the kool-aide.

pffft.

C.W.

Heater.
12-14-2011, 07:06 PM
ctwardell,
I have no idea what you mean. Please elaborate.

ctwardell
12-14-2011, 07:15 PM
I may have misinterpreted "had to go down in my list" as a demotion, maybe you just meant he had to be added to your list.

Sorry if that was the case.

There are those that are upset with him because he has dared to question the methods behind the science of global warming.

C.W.

Heater.
12-14-2011, 07:43 PM
ctwardell,
Ah I see. Do we have a slight English->American translation problem here?
Anyway, I am in admiration of the designs Burt has come up with since I first heard of him in the days of his kit built planes.
No idea about the global warming debate.

ctwardell
12-14-2011, 07:54 PM
Heater,

What threw me the most was that for me at least the second item that pops up when I start typing "Burt Rutan" into google is "Burt Rutan Global Warming".

The "down in my list", "Google his name if you don't know why" and then google list showing global warming immediately turned into thinking that you were attacking Burt.

Once again, sorry for going off half-cocked

C.W.

Heater.
12-14-2011, 08:10 PM
ctwadell,
Interesting, I just put "Burt Rutant" to google and in the first two pages the was no hint of "global warming". Just a lot of stuff about Scaled Composits.
As for "going down" that is as in "going down in history" as opposed to being forgotten.

ctwardell
12-14-2011, 08:18 PM
Heater,

It show up in the "drop down" that appears as you type in a search on the google.com page.

C.W.

Bill Chennault
12-15-2011, 04:00 AM
Bill and All--

Another example is the Atlas V, which can carry almost 65,000 lbs to orbit. In fact, it can place 29,000 lbs in geostationary orbit... which the shuttle couldn't even place in low earth orbit.The Falcon 9 can put 10,000 pounds in geostationary orbit. That is 1/3 the capability of the Atlas V.

--Bill

wjsteele
12-15-2011, 10:25 AM
That is 1/3 the capability of the Atlas V.

Yep... that's why I didn't list it. The commercially developed rockets are no where near the capabilities of the gov't paid rockets... yet. The Falcon 9 Heavy, when it is complete, will be able to lift about 20 tons to geostationary orbit.

Bill

Bill Chennault
12-15-2011, 01:22 PM
Bill--

Ah! The Falcon 9 HEAVY! That is what I had read about, but could not find a description of when I wanted it. I will watch for news regarding it.

Merry Christmas!

--Bill

wjsteele
12-19-2011, 08:19 PM
Bill,

There is actually a new NASA designed heavy lift rocket on the drawing boards as well that is derived from the Shuttle's launch stack. It's called the "Space Launch System" or SLS. It'll be able to heave 140 tons into orbit and will be used to send 50 tons to orbit the moon (with a lander!)

The first flight of it is scheduled for 2017 with it's first mission being a trip around the moon for the Orion space capsule.

Bill

W9GFO
12-19-2011, 08:29 PM
By the way, the Saturn V rocket put all other rockets to shame in regards to it's lifting capability... it could place a jumbo jet into orbit... around the moon!

The Saturn V could put a jumbo jet into Lunar orbit? Why then were they so careful to keep the weight down on the LEM and command module?

wjsteele
12-19-2011, 10:39 PM
Why then were they so careful to keep the weight down on the LEM and command module?

Have you seen the weight of the Command Module/Service Module/Lunar Excursion Module package? It's was 50 tons!

It cost a lot of money to move that much mass and every pound saved was tens of thousands of dollars.

Bill

W9GFO
12-19-2011, 10:57 PM
Okay, well if you consider a 737 a "jumbo jet", then it is close.

Empty weight of a 747 is more than 170 tons.

wjsteele
12-20-2011, 02:50 AM
Okay, well if you consider a 737 a "jumbo jet", then it is close.

Of course, you are correct! :-) Fixed!

(Everything is a JumboJet compared to my little Beech Skipper!)

Bill

JonnyMac
12-21-2011, 06:11 PM
Burt Rutan had to go down in my all time list of heros.
Google his name if you don't know why.

I'm with you, there.

Edit: For clarification Burt Rutan is in my list of heroes, and very very close to the top.