The Plane that Can Launch a Satellite

Posted by on Wednesday, June 7, 2017

This is not a typical plane that you would see on an airport runway. This plane can launch satellites.

Stratolaunch Systems Corporation is a space transportation venture developing a new air launch to orbit system, with its corporate headquarters located in Seattle, Washington. 

It was founded by Paul Allen in 2011.

The Scaled Composites Model 351 (nicknamed the "Roc") is being built for Stratolaunch Systems to provide a platform from which air-launch space missions can be staged. With a wingspan of 117 metres, the design has the longest wingspan of any airplane to date.

In August 2015, Scaled Composites president Kevin Mickey stated the company has so far assembled "roughly 200,000 pounds of composite structure" for the vehicle and if put on an American football field, "its wingtips would extend beyond the goalposts by 4.6 metres on each side".

Each of the twin fuselages of the aircraft is 73 metres long and is supported by 12 main landing gear wheels and two nose gear wheels, for a total of 28 wheels. It will require 3,700 metres of runway to lift-off.

The Team

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