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AirbusCanada
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:14 am

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:04 pm

A space launch company bankrolled by Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen intends to compete with space entrepreneurs and industry stalwarts by launching satellites into orbit from the world's biggest airplane.

With a wingspan of 385 feet (117 m), the six-engine plane will be larger than Howard Hughes' 1947 H-4 Hercules, known as the "Spruce Goose," and the Antonov An-225, a Soviet-era cargo plane originally built to transport the Buran space shuttle that is currently the world's largest aircraft.

Designed and built by Northrop Grumman Corp's Scaled Composites, the plane is similar in form and function to Scaled's aircraft built to ferry spaceships into the air and release them for independent rocket rides beyond the atmosphere, a service Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic intends to offer for paying passengers.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmagoldber ... fa9a785667

http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report- ... ne-2226069
 
ODwyerPW
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:37 pm

meh.

a one off. penis envy.
learning never stops.
 
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N14AZ
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:03 pm

I find it fascinating as well. That's why I started a thread about its production in the military spaceflight section:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1028393
 
smokeybandit
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:52 pm

A Microsoft guy building a plane?

You know that thing will crash a few times :D
 
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impromark
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:41 pm

...Thing is, the "blue screen of death" is really just a clear sky for us... ;)

Mark
 
iahcsr
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:21 pm

Obvious question: are there any images or renderings of this aircraft?
Working Hard, Flying Right Friendly....
 
smokeybandit
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:33 pm

iahcsr wrote:
Obvious question: are there any images or renderings of this aircraft?


Image
 
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TZTriStar500
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:08 am

This is the company website with renderings.

http://aerospace.vulcan.com/
35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
 
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Clipper101
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:17 am

TZTriStar500 wrote:
This is the company website with renderings.

http://aerospace.vulcan.com/


Somehow I feel this plane design concept has been their for sometime & is not new
 
Planeflyer
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:55 am

Innovative, hope it works.
 
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nighthawk
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:25 am

What's the width between the two fuselages? Can it operate from current runways?
 
Heinkel
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:35 am

The idea of launching rockets not from see level but from an elevated launch pad is as old as rocket science. It makes a lot of sense.

The famous Herman Oberth wrote about this in his books "Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen ("By Rocket into Planetary Space", 1923) and "Wege zur Raumschiffahrt ("Ways to Spaceflight", 1929).

He proposed to use big balloons to bring the rocket to a launch altitude of 5000 m (15,000 feet).

The problem was (and is) to build an aircraft big enough to lift a big space rocket to that launch altitude.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:17 pm

nighthawk wrote:
What's the width between the two fuselages? Can it operate from current runways?


If the image on the wikipedia page is anything close to accurate I'd imagine it will be able to use a handful of the widest runways in the world. Damn that thing is wide. O_O

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Co ... ratolaunch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stra ... arison.svg
 
iahcsr
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Joined: Fri Jun 04, 1999 2:59 pm

Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:20 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
nighthawk wrote:
What's the width between the two fuselages? Can it operate from current runways?


If the image on the wikipedia page is anything close to accurate I'd imagine it will be able to use a handful of the widest runways in the world. Damn that thing is wide. O_O

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Co ... ratolaunch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stra ... arison.svg


If they can afford to build the aircraft they can also afford to build a runway(s) to fly it off of :D
Working Hard, Flying Right Friendly....
 
BiggerJetsPlz
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:22 pm

United's former 747s N196UA and N198UA didn't die early deaths (less than 12 years in service) for nothing, as their avionics and engines were used to build this thing.
 
IFlySlow
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Re: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen building world's biggest Airplane

Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:35 pm

I seem to remember a few years ago that Burt Rutan was involved in the early stages of this project. The early renderings that were published at the time looked an awful lot like two 747 fuses joined by a wing (think White Knight on a grander scale for the general configuration).

This is old news really but its a big step from concept to execution of something that big. If Rutan is still involved, I'd guess it's at an advisory level, since he seems to want nothing more than to retire and fly his SkiGull around the world at a leisurely pace, and who can blame him?

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