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Paul Allen Announces Largest Aircraft Project  
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2843 posts, RR: 12
Posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10615 times:

Paul Allen and Burt Rutan held a press conference today to announce a new space travel venture. The plan is to construct a transport aircraft with six 747 engines, a gross weight of over 1.2 million pounds and a wingspan of more than 380 feet, "which will carry a space rocket to an altitude of about 30,000 feet for an air launch into orbit".

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...ogy/2017001880_stratolaunch14.html

Some more information here (CGI of aircraft, takoff, launch and return of aircraft):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh29Pm1Rrc0&feature=player_embedded

"The idea is to bring airport-like operations to the space-launch business, initially carrying commercial and government payloads, and later passengers."

This is ambitious...



edit for photo

[Edited 2011-12-13 13:51:04]


The beatings will continue until morale improves
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2197 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10567 times:

Sounds like a fun project . . . where do I sign up?

Long hours won't be good for family life though 

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2843 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10548 times:

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 1):
Long hours won't be good for family life though

From the article, "plans call for a first flight in 5 years". Yeah, I think you'd be working a lot of hours. I wonder how well it will respond to elevator commands. Off the top of my head I recall a twin tail aircraft without a boom. They probably couldn't include a boom tail for safety reasons. It would be catastrophic if the payload hit it on release.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3592 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10430 times:
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Payload spacecraft looks an awful lot like a SpaceX Dragon.


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User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2843 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10404 times:

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 3):
Payload spacecraft looks an awful lot like a SpaceX Dragon.

SpaceX is part of the project team.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineSLCPilot From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 592 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10383 times:

It's also in Civ-Av....

My take? The wing is not for stabilization or pitching purposes. I think they plan to fly the booster engines back and re-use them!

If the wing was to pitch the rocket assembly, why isn't it further forward? If the wing is for stability, why isn't there one for yaw as well?

Very ambitous! I would not invest my money in this this project. Your mileage may vary. I would call Rutan a great designer and I admire him. That being said, not many of his designs have become overwhelming (commercial) successes! One exception perhaps being the one in this video.....That's me turning the camera on!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqo-AaPiCBs

Cheers!

SLCPilot

[Edited 2011-12-13 17:51:51]


I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2843 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 10290 times:

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 5):
It's also in Civ-Av....

Not my fault someone posted a thread in the wrong forum. This is Military Aviation and Space. Sometimes I feel like 95% of the people over on Civ Av never lurk any further than that forum.

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 5):
I would not invest my money in this this project. Your mileage may vary. I would call Rutan a great designer and I admire him. That being said, not many of his designs have become overwhelming (commercial) successes!

Well, Paul Allen does have a lot of money to throw around and a huge interest in space travel. If you ever find your way out to Seattle, he opened the Sci Fi museum in the Experience Music Project. It houses his pretty extensive collection of movie props from movies like Star Trek and Star Wars. If I was Rutan I would have hit him up first for financing. But, remember they won the X-Prize that funded half of their original project in '04.

I agree with you about Rutan being a great designer, but I never could bring myself to like the VariEze and Long-EZ.

Did you watch that YouTube video of the payload launch? They must be very optimistic about its stall characteristics and the amount of lift they can get from that wing. I see a lot of challenges left to solve, although I can see why they think they can get this into service quickly. You don't have to provide all the environmental systems to keep 400+ people alive and warm in the back. All that can be scaled down to just the cockpit and probably a 4-6 person crew.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2412 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 10239 times:
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Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 2):
Off the top of my head I recall a twin tail aircraft without a boom. They probably couldn't include a boom tail for safety reasons. It would be catastrophic if the payload hit it on release.

Off the top of my head:

Transavia PL-12 Airtruk:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © George Canciani



Rutan Voyager:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sergey Rimsha



Also Proteus, SpaceShipOne, White Knight, SpaceShipTwo, and White Knight Two from Scaled Composites (although that's clearly where this idea came from).


User currently offlineSLCPilot From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 592 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 10229 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):
Did you watch that YouTube video of the payload launch? They must be very optimistic about its stall characteristics and the amount of lift they can get from that wing.

It is my suspicion that part of the aft end of the booster will detach and return only the engines.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):
Well, Paul Allen does have a lot of money to throw around and a huge interest in space travel. If you ever find your way out to Seattle, he opened the Sci Fi museum in the Experience Music Project.

I will look for it! "Work" takes me that way sometimes. FWIW, my Subaru is my canoe carrier, the canoe? A locally kitted (for you presumably) Pygmy Taiga!

Cheers!

SLCPilot



I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5785 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 10189 times:

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 5):
My take? The wing is not for stabilization or pitching purposes. I think they plan to fly the booster engines back and re-use them!

Nah, why bother to fly it when a parachute is vastly simpler and as reliable.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):
Did you watch that YouTube video of the payload launch? They must be very optimistic about its stall characteristics and the amount of lift they can get from that wing. I see a lot of challenges left to solve,

What I see is apparently the stiffest wing in the world!  
Seriously, I realize it is just CG. I'll be curious to see how much it doe flex.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineairplaneaddict From United States of America, joined May 2010, 12 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 10185 times:

i wonder if it will flex as much as a 787s wing. the wing could only be made of carbon fiber IMO just think of the loads it would have to take. definitely cant wait to see it fly in 5-10 years.

User currently offlinespudsmac From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10163 times:

1.2 million lbs? We're talking AN-225 weight here!

User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1900 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 10048 times:

I've been thinking about this since Rutan first sketched the idea on the back of a napkin almost twenty years ago.
But cost wise, I'm not sure how often it would be cheaper than just using a Falcon 9. It would have serious advantages in being to launch from runways and in different inclinations from more locations, but for routine launches from established sites Just using the F9 will probably be simpler and cheaper.

That video doesn't make much sense. It says 13,500 pounds to LEO, which is too low a weight for the Dragon in the film with any usefull fuel and payload. The F9 with the M1D is shooting for 35,000lb to LEO.

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 5):
My take? The wing is not for stabilization or pitching purposes. I think they plan to fly the booster engines back and re-use them!

If the wing was to pitch the rocket assembly, why isn't it further forward? If the wing is for stability, why isn't there one for yaw as well?

The wing could very well be to pitch the rocket, but only to get it to the right attitude for firing. Downward lift would work just as well as upward for that. SpaceX doesn't just want to salvage engines. They want the entire booster back for quick turnaround. I'd bet they'd detatch the wing soon after ignition, but if they were going to keep it for flying the booster back, it would have to be on the rear, since that's where all the weight will be once the fuel is mostly exhausted.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2197 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 9996 times:

Quoting tugger (Reply 9):
Nah, why bother to fly it when a parachute is vastly simpler and as reliable.

Not if you intend to re-use the vehicle without damage. And I don't know how your typical passenger would feel about the "bounce" at the end of the ride.  

Seems to me the six engines is going to be their down fall. I'd go with 2 or 4 bigger engines . . . but what do I know. I haven't sent a rocket into space.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):
Well, Paul Allen does have a lot of money to throw around and a huge interest in space travel. If you ever find your way out to Seattle, he opened the Sci Fi museum in the Experience Music Project. It houses his pretty extensive collection of movie props from movies like Star Trek and Star Wars. .


And with his on-going medical issue, I'm not surprise that Paul is trying to get one last hurrah's. Good luck to every one on this project.

And a special message to Paul. With your spare change, can you buy that 787 airplane that is being mothballed to fly the Seahawks around? The 6000 ft altitude might just help the team on those East Coast games.

bikerthai

[Edited 2011-12-14 06:17:46]

[Edited 2011-12-14 06:18:21]


Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinekalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 497 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 9951 times:

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 12):
That video doesn't make much sense. It says 13,500 pounds to LEO, which is too low a weight for the Dragon in the film with any usefull fuel and payload. The F9 with the M1D is shooting for 35,000lb to LEO.

Lower weight to orbit is a different market segment.
Besides, I doubt they can do much more. Taking off from surface launcher can deliver around 4% of its weight to orbit. Probably they can go to 6% with airborn launch, so total launcher weight is ~200K lb. Maybe they would be able to double that, but triple... It becomes a question of airframe fuel, airframe weight and so on.


User currently offlinespudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 301 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 9941 times:

Quoting spudsmac (Reply 11):
1.2 million lbs? We're talking AN-225 weight here!

Thats what I don't get, why develop a totally new single use platform when there is a heavy lifter which was designed with this purpose in mind available off the shelf, albeit carrying it on top. Anyone ever barrel rolled an AN-225  . I don't know what the service ceiling of the AN 225 is but with its lifting capability I doubt it's aerodynamically limited, more likely to do with crew compartment pressurisation. I'd rather be solving that issue than trying to develop and certify a completly new platform.


User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5785 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 9913 times:

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 12):
I've been thinking about this since Rutan first sketched the idea on the back of a napkin almost twenty years ago.
But cost wise, I'm not sure how often it would be cheaper than just using a Falcon 9. It would have serious advantages in being to launch from runways and in different inclinations from more locations, but for routine launches from established sites Just using the F9 will probably be simpler and cheaper.

The big thing they talk about is fewer weather delays and lower cost ground facilities (no hardened concrete, gantry towers, "stand up" facility, etc and their related maintenance).

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 13):
Not if you intend to re-use the vehicle without damage. And I don't know how your typical passenger would feel about the "bounce" at the end of the ride.

I am actually addressing the rocket booster not the aircraft of course. From how I read SLCPilot's post, he was referring to the wing on the booster as a return mechanism.

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2843 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 9846 times:

Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 8):
Pygmy Taiga

Nice canoe   I'd destroy a wood canoe, I'll stick with aluminum I can knock the dents out.

Quoting spudsmac (Reply 11):
1.2 million lbs? We're talking AN-225 weight here!

SpaceX announced along with the Stratolaunch Systems project that they would develop a new 490,000 lb air launched rocket for the project. So, imagine how that plane would pitch up when you drop around 41% of the total weight!

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 13):
Seems to me the six engines is going to be their down fall. I'd go with 2 or 4 bigger engines . . . but what do I know. I haven't sent a rocket into space.

I'm sure they're looking at cost and what they can buy relatively "off the shelf". No 2 engines right now could get a 1.2 million lb aircraft in the air.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinekalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 497 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 9724 times:

Quoting spudh (Reply 15):

Thats what I don't get, why develop a totally new single use platform when there is a heavy lifter which was designed with this purpose in mind available off the shelf, albeit carrying it on top.

One thin to keep in mind: lift is generated by the wing, which is attached to airframe. Upon payload release, lift does not change- but the weight does; so as payload starts to fall down, airframe gets kicked up.
So you really really need bomber-type downward release of payload to make sure airframe and payload (or hot exhaust) would not meet again mid-air


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2124 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (3 years 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 9626 times:

Quoting kalvado (Reply 18):
One thin to keep in mind: lift is generated by the wing, which is attached to airframe. Upon payload release, lift does not change- but the weight does; so as payload starts to fall down, airframe gets kicked up.
So you really really need bomber-type downward release of payload to make sure airframe and payload (or hot exhaust) would not meet again mid-air

And this point was disastrously exemplified by a much, much simpler coupling.. that of the A-12 (M-21) and the D-21 drone on its back. The program was scrapped after they reunited after seperation, resulting in the death of one of the crew and destroying both aircraft. I know the Mach 3 environment didn't simplify things, but I don't recall any problems with aircraft/spacecraft dropped from B-29/36/52, and there were a BUNCH!

http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/1535/d21k.jpg

Haunting video of the crash, after it shows 2 successful seperations. On the crash incident the D-21 never ignited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpJ4uE-3mBI



Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10930 posts, RR: 37
Reply 20, posted (3 years 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 9471 times:

Paul Allen likes things big. He owns the "Villa Maryland" one of the top-rated and most magnificent villas in nearby Saint Jean Cap Ferrat
http://www.bittenandbound.com/2008/0...in-at-french-riviera-villa-photos/

this is his yacht the Octopus, one of the world's 5 largest yachts after the Eclipse owned by Roman Abramovich and the Royal Yacht Dubai owned by Sheikh Mohammad al Maktoum, the Sheikh of Dubai. The Octopus is moored at Antibes during Winter and kept offshore Cap Ferrat when Mr Allen is there.
http://yachts.monacoeye.com/yachtsbysize/pages/octopus08.html

He has earned it all from his work and creativity. I see absolutely no problem with that.

As far as the new behemoth world's largest aircraft and space capsule launcher project in collaboration with Burt Rutan, we are yet to see Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic White Knight Two and Space ShipTwo complete the testing and take passengers on suborbital flights.

The same applies with Space X Dragon capsule. We are still waiting to see it successfully docking to the Space Station.

After these two projects are coming to full completion assuring a high enough safety level and total success after a few flights, then we can see about this new behemoth carrier is truly realistic and feasible.

Money is one thing but for as much money as one has got, it can quickly be lost on such monstrous projects.

I hope they will think of alternate fuels to power the 6 engines as the world is leaning toward less carbon footprint and being more "green". Also the $100;00 barrel of crude might not last forever therefore the need for biofuels.

    

I will say "wait and see".



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineSpruceMoose From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7032 times:

Some news:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...nters-system-design-review-372344/

Info about the System Design Review, the hangar at Mojave, and this interesting tidbit:

Quote:
Scaled Composites, which is building the aircraft, has purchased two ex-United Boeing 747-400s, and is in the process of dismantling them. Stratolaunch will use the engines, hydraulics system and several other major components to build its own aircraft. The remaining fuselage and wing shells will be scrapped.

(hat tip to Bennett123 who posted in the SpaceX/ISS thread)

-SpruceMoose



It flew at an altitude of six feet for a distance of four and a half feet. Then we discovered rain makes it catch fire.
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3592 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7006 times:
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Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 20):
The same applies with Space X Dragon capsule. We are still waiting to see it successfully docking to the Space Station.

Wait over.  
Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 20):
I hope they will think of alternate fuels to power the 6 engines as the world is leaning toward less carbon footprint and being more "green". Also the $100;00 barrel of crude might not last forever therefore the need for biofuels.

Not a lot of point. The RP1 the rocket engines will use is basically kerosene & I suspect it burns far less cleanly than the Jet-A the jet engines will use. Maybe they'll come up with a eco rocket fuel.



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User currently offlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7834 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (2 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 6629 times:

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 20):
this is his yacht the Octopus, one of the world's 5 largest yachts after the Eclipse owned by Roman Abramovich and the Royal Yacht Dubai owned by Sheikh Mohammad al Maktoum, the Sheikh of Dubai.

Where do you get your information from, Octopus is only the 13th largest.

1. Eclipse
2. Dubai
3. Al Said
4. Prince Abdulaziz
5. El Horria
6. Topaz
7. Yaz
8. Al Salamah
9. Al Mirqab
10. Rising Sun
11. Savarona
12. Serene
13. Octopus


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