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Stratolaunch flies

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Stratolaunch flies

Old 13th Apr 2019, 19:36
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Stratolaunch flies

It flies...

Verge report

The world’s largest airplane took flight for the first time ever on Saturday morning. Built by rocket launch company Stratolaunch, the 500,000-pound plane with a 385-foot wingspan lifted off shortly after 10AM ET from Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. It’s a critical first test flight for the aircraft, designed to launch rockets into orbit from the air.The inaugural flight is expected to last a few hours. The dual-fuselage Stratolaunch is designed to fly to an altitude of 35,000 feet, where it can drop rockets that ignite their engines and boost themselves into orbit around the planet. There is no rocket on this particular flight. But the company has already signed at least one customer, Northrop Grumman, which plans to use Stratolaunch to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space.

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Old 13th Apr 2019, 20:58
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Despite the blurb above it was, of course,actually built by Scaled Composites and is clearly one of their designs.
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 22:28
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What I find interesting about the design is that the tailplanes are not linked. Thus, all the angular stress has to be handled by the wing - which must be mighty strong. I guess that, as it is designed to have various rockets hung off it - then it must be tough!
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 23:23
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Originally Posted by PAXboy View Post
What I find interesting about the design is that the tailplanes are not linked. Thus, all the angular stress has to be handled by the wing - which must be mighty strong. I guess that, as it is designed to have various rockets hung off it - then it must be tough!
That was my impression as well -- the Mother of All Wing Spars!

A fair amount of discussion about the lack of a tailplane link in the JB thread on this, FWIW.
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 23:32
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I do wonder if the secret to this is in the wing section.
If it has a reflex section, and is efectively a flying wing, the tails are maybe there for pitch control rather than stabilty...
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 23:52
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CRM must be tricky...
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 23:59
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It is designed to carry a total payload of 350 tonnes under the wing centre. That is some load!
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 00:04
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I've just looked up the spec of this thing. It's simply breath-taking! It's HUUUGE! Those excellent videos don't even begin to do it justice.

Wingspan damn near double that of a 747-400 ( 119m vs. 68m)
MTOW 50% greater! almost 600tons vs 400

Six 747 engines. 747 landing gear. What a toy!
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 02:43
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Originally Posted by darkbarly View Post
CRM must be tricky...
The crew occupy the right cockpit; the left cockpit is empty or can house electronic gear.
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 04:11
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That must be indeed tough with the CRM, I told you to land on centerline!, but I did land on centerline!
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 06:33
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Some of the best formation flying I have seen between the two halves! Impressive. Like it was joined...................
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 06:49
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Whilst it's an impressive looking beast which airport in the world would be able to handle it?
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 07:09
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Originally Posted by Captain Kaboom View Post
That must be indeed tough with the CRM, I told you to land on centerline!, but I did land on centerline!
Mojave has painted a black line down the runway where the right fuselage is when the Stratolaunch is on the centerline.

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Old 14th Apr 2019, 13:25
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Originally Posted by crewmeal View Post
Whilst it's an impressive looking beast which airport in the world would be able to handle it?
Given its mission I believe it's pretty much destined to live and work where it was yesterday, the Mojave Air and Space Port.

But point taken, there aren't many places that can (or would want to) handle this dude.
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 13:46
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Anybody got a better flight deck picture? I’ve found only this one:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.gee...es-mojave/amp/
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 13:55
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"Everyone grab a throttle, we're going around!"
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Old 14th Apr 2019, 22:20
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Originally Posted by Carbon Bootprint View Post
Given its mission I believe it's pretty much destined to live and work where it was yesterday, the Mojave Air and Space Port.

But point taken, there aren't many places that can (or would want to) handle this dude.
Having to land at Mojave would limit it's usefulness. One of the carrots of not being tied to a specific launch sites is that it makes different orbital trajectories move viable (that was the whole idea behind the ill-fated Sealaunch venture). Having a few other airports where it can operate - even if it's just to refuel - would increase it potential market quite a bit (especially since I doubt it can carry a lot of fuel when loaded with a 350 ton launch vehicle).
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Old 15th Apr 2019, 02:01
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Mojave is not that far from the ocean, so there is probably some reasonable launch flexibility.
The problem is that there is no appropriate launch vehicle for this aircraft to carry. Pegasus is a fraction of the right size and the internal launcher development effort was halted. So the project has achieved engineering success, but not economic viability.
The team must be scrounging desperately to find a practical use that can pay the bills going forward.
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Old 15th Apr 2019, 03:17
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Originally Posted by KKoran View Post
Mojave has painted a black line down the runway where the right fuselage is when the Stratolaunch is on the centerline.
Aha, makes a lot of sense... thanks
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Old 15th Apr 2019, 19:10
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Mojave is not that far from the ocean, so there is probably some reasonable launch flexibility....
In terms of launch azimuths that's true though I guess any easterly azimuths might be a bit problematic, plus of course Mojave is at what ? 35 N ? compared with Canaveral's 28 and a bit north, which is potentially a penalty for some launches;

I'm sure cost vs.benefit on all that has been done by people with big big brains but I can see where tracer is coming from with his remark..
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