Monday, June 5, 2017

Paul Allen's Stratolaunch Plane Emerges From Its Hangar

From Digital Trends, June 2, 2017:

Here are 6 jumbo jets that look tiny next to Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch plane 
It appears as though simply owning not one but two professional sports teams, and one of the world’s largest yachts was simply not enough to quench the thirst of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The billionaire entrepreneur first announced plans for the largest aircraft on earth — the Stratolaunch — in 2011, and after a few minor delays, Stratolaunch Systems has finally revealed the beastly bird. The company has some rather lofty ambitions for the project down the road. Eventually, Allen and company want the Stratolaunch to soar to low Earth orbit where it can launch a Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL rocket into space. The rocket itself will be capable of carrying smaller satellites into orbit. As the system advances, Stratolaunch Systems hopes to one day send manned missions to orbit.

The Stratolaunch didn’t take flight at the unveiling, but the airplane certainly has some fairly impressive design specifications. The craft touts a sprawling 385 foot wingspan and uses six 747 jet engines for thrust. Fully fueled, the Stratolaunch tips the scales at 750,000 pounds and requires nearly 12,000 feet of runway for takeoff. But how does the aircraft size up to some of the largest aircraft in aviation history?...

They look at some of the behemoths of the air, the Antonov cargo plane, the Hughes flying boat and a few others but somehow missed a couple. From March 2017's "China To Debut World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft, Handy For Supplying Newly-Built Islands (plus Tim Draper does a cameo)":
...We still have respect for Mr. Draper's money and Sand Hill Road power. Here's the new plane via SiliconBeat:
Picture of the Lun (Ekranoplan)
Oops, wrong plane. That's the Soviet "Lun". And yes those are rocket launchers on top of the fuselage.
Here's the right story, SiliconBeat March 28....