Stratolaunch 75% Complete!

#11
Yazata Online
Stratolaunch may have been revived from its near-death experience. Apparently they have found new investors and have "transitioned ownership" as they put it.

https://www.stratolaunch.com/2019/10/11/...ownership/

https://twitter.com/Stratolaunch/status/...4886912000

https://twitter.com/NicolaPecile/status/...9073793025

Activity has been observed around the Stratolaunch hanger, the doors have been opened and people are working there.

And the company is looking to hire new test pilots.

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/search/?cu...rect=false

Everyone is wondering who the new investors are.

If Roc is back, the same question as before remains: What will its payload be? It could carry a rocket on the scale of Rocketlab's electron, I guess. (There are several of these sized rockets in development by various companies.) And air launching an Electron might allow it to launch larger payloads or save enough fuel to permit a reentry burn to slow the thing down for its planned parachute recovery.

Everyone is (cautiously) happy in Mohave.
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#12
C C Offline
(Oct 15, 2019 05:05 PM)Yazata Wrote: Stratolaunch may have been revived from its near-death experience. Apparently they have found new investors and have "transitioned ownership" as they put it.

https://www.stratolaunch.com/2019/10/11/...ownership/

https://twitter.com/Stratolaunch/status/...4886912000

https://twitter.com/NicolaPecile/status/...9073793025

Activity has been observed around the Stratolaunch hanger, the doors have been opened and people are working there.

And the company is looking to hire new test pilots.

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/search/?cu...rect=false

Everyone is wondering who the new investors are.

If Roc is back, the same question as before remains: What will its payload be? It could carry a rocket on the scale of Rocketlab's electron, I guess. (There are several of these sized rockets in development by various companies.) And air launching an Electron might allow it to launch larger payloads or save enough fuel to permit a reentry burn to slow the thing down for its planned parachute recovery.

Everyone is (cautiously) happy in Mohave.


Northrop Grumman bought a couple of Pegasus rockets back from the company recently, as if the latter doesn't care about them anymore. Stratolaunch halted development of its own class of launch vehicles back in January.

Who knows, is new management going to fickly return to abandoned undertakings and then indecisively switch yet again as the company's done in the past? Or is this a plea for somebody out there to finally recruit its services and potential in a "you tell us what to do, what your project wants done" way, to temporarily settle what it launches: Stratolaunch has the potential for creating technology development opportunities for commercial, philanthropic, and governmental organizations to collect rich and actionable data and drive advancements in science, research, and technology."
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#13
Yazata Online
(Oct 15, 2019 05:05 PM)Yazata Wrote: It could carry a rocket on the scale of Rocketlab's electron, I guess. (There are several of these sized rockets in development by various companies.) And air launching an Electron might allow it to launch larger payloads or save enough fuel to permit a reentry burn to slow the thing down for its planned parachute recovery.

Or maybe not. While Roc could easily carry a fully fueled Electron, opinion on NSF seems to be that modifying Electron for horizontal air-launches might be prohibitively expensive. Lots of changes necessary.

I'm not 100% convinced. Reusability, Rocketlab's goal with the Electron, will probably necessitate some major block upgrades anyway. So changes are already in the cards. And if the thing just won't reenter the atmosphere at mach 9 in one piece, or it will but is damaged to the point it isn't reusable, but if air launching would save enough fuel for an entry burn and successfully make it reusable, then the cost of making the necessary design changes might arguably be amortized over time by the savings inherent in not having to build a new rocket for every launch. (Lots of 'ifs' there, admittedly.)

So I'm still not convinced that a business case for Stratolaunch and Rocketlab teaming up can't be made.
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