Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Stratolaunch with Massive Airplane in Development Closing Down Operations

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Stratolaunch with Massive Airplane in Development Closing Down Operations

Old 1st Jun 2019, 02:25
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 105
Stratolaunch with Massive Airplane in Development Closing Down Operations

We had a discussion here in April about the plane flying a test flight:
Stratolaunch flies

Unfortunately:
Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, the space company founded by late billionaire and Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen, is closing operations, cutting short ambitious plans to challenge traditional aerospace companies in a new “space race,” four people familiar with the matter said on Friday... As of April 1, Stratolaunch had only 21 employees, compared with 77 last December, one of the four sources said. Most of the remaining employees were focused on completing the carrier plane’s test flight.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKCN1T12FD

PastTense is offline  
Old 1st Jun 2019, 03:31
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 76
Posts: 1,058
Salute!

I kinda figured this was the deal.
Kinda like the Spruce Goose. Prove the thing can fly then put it in a museum.
No way was this platform becoming capable of putting half of the weight or volume into orbit that the Space X rockets are doing. And now that Space X routinely lands the first stage, then costs go way down.

All that being said, it is still neat to see a private endeavor reach for the stars without zillions of government $$$$. I realize Space X and Blue Origin get $$ from the government. However, seems like most of their upfront costs were financed by their umbrella companies -PayPal and Amazon. Heh?

Gums sends....
gums is offline  
Old 1st Jun 2019, 09:53
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: 60 north
Age: 55
Posts: 838
Allen and Stratolaunch RIP

I love aviation.
One of the reasons is our industry come up with some wild and good ideas.
This one was not.
Anyone who has flown in some light or moderate turbulence can figure that out!
A bit sad but rely, it would have broken up at one point.
Regards
Cpt B
BluSdUp is offline  
Old 1st Jun 2019, 10:55
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: somehere sandy!
Posts: 254
Good chance for Rocket Labs in New Zealand to pick up on the opportunities....?
goeasy is offline  
Old 1st Jun 2019, 14:13
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 76
Posts: 1,058
Salute!

Yeah "easy" the Kiwis might just have something for the smaller payloads.
I agree with you Blue, that big plane would prolly be extremely limited due to WX. And then there's always the CAT up there when you least expect it.

And while we're at it....... just Google Branson's "spaceport" in New Mexico. I have driven thru there, and it is "desolate", but looks like there's a new upscale hotel and a Holiday Inn Express for "smart" people. Bezo will have same problem where his place is at. In all fairness, the White Sands/Alamagordo area east of there is even worse!!! I always prayed I would never have orders to Holloman AFB.

Gums sends...
gums is offline  
Old 1st Jun 2019, 15:51
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: annecy
Posts: 19
Originally Posted by gums View Post
Salute!

Yeah "easy" the Kiwis might just have something for the smaller payloads.
I agree with you Blue, that big plane would prolly be extremely limited due to WX. And then there's always the CAT up there when you least expect it.

And while we're at it....... just Google Branson's "spaceport" in New Mexico. I have driven thru there, and it is "desolate", but looks like there's a new upscale hotel and a Holiday Inn Express for "smart" people. Bezo will have same problem where his place is at. In all fairness, the White Sands/Alamagordo area east of there is even worse!!! I always prayed I would never have orders to Holloman AFB.

Gums sends...
No surprise - it has no market and never did
sceh is offline  
Old 1st Jun 2019, 19:42
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: shiny side up
Posts: 366
According to Stratolaunch, they are not shutting down....

https://www.cnet.com/news/stratolaun...-closing-down/
Smythe is offline  
Old 1st Jun 2019, 20:07
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 76
Posts: 1,058
Salute!

Tyler's site ( The War Zone - The Drive ) has been fairly reliable about many things and they had a source that agrees with my personal scenario of the "Spruce Goose" flight, thence to a museum.
Another source told Reuters that Judy Allen, chair of Vulcan, a trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust, and Paul Allen's sister, had let the flight occur to honor her late brother's wishes, but had already decided to close down Stratolaunch afterward by that point.
OTOH, Sierra Nevada might be able to use the beast for its Dream Chaser if they mate a suitable booster to it. The ISS supply mission payloads are small compared to the DoD and comm satellites.

Gums sends....
gums is offline  
Old 5th Jun 2019, 09:50
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 1,796
Originally Posted by BluSdUp View Post
I love aviation.
One of the reasons is our industry come up with some wild and good ideas.
This one was not.
Anyone who has flown in some light or moderate turbulence can figure that out!
A bit sad but rely, it would have broken up at one point.
Regards
Cpt B

Have to agree, could never understand why the two large booms were not connected with a large horizontal stabilizer, like a P38


That would have made for an enormously strong airframe, the design chosen seems to put a massive amount of stress on the wing, too much I would have thought
stilton is offline  
Old 5th Jun 2019, 13:02
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NEW YORK
Posts: 415
Originally Posted by stilton View Post



Have to agree, could never understand why the two large booms were not connected with a large horizontal stabilizer, like a P38


That would have made for an enormously strong airframe, the design chosen seems to put a massive amount of stress on the wing, too much I would have thought
Presumably the decision to leave the fuselages unconnected at the tail was driven by the need to accommodate the large launch vehicle fitted between them.
Unless the plan was to drop the launcher before starting the rocket engines, but that would have negated much of the reuse-ability of the concept.
etudiant is offline  
Old 5th Jun 2019, 22:34
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Surrounded by aluminum, and the great outdoors
Posts: 3,689
amazing all the "arm chair" engineers here forecasting the structural failure of the aircraft...did you ring up the engineers who designed it and share your expertise??
ironbutt57 is offline  
Old 5th Jun 2019, 23:02
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Herts, UK
Posts: 724
Originally Posted by ironbutt57 View Post
amazing all the "arm chair" engineers here forecasting the structural failure of the aircraft...did you ring up the engineers who designed it and share your expertise??
hehe! Was thinking much the same..
HarryMann is offline  
Old 6th Jun 2019, 01:48
  #13 (permalink)  
fdr
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 576
Future

Hope that the program continues ahead. The plane is impressive up close.

For an operator, the fact that there is not much in current orders is not a reflection of the potential for the system.

Total fuel saving to get to the launch conditions for a vertical launch is around 30-60% of the total fuel to LEO, so a 250T total launch weight is equivalent to about a 10T payload and a 500T launch vehicle, about 2/3rds the size of an Ariane 5. The fuel is not a high cost, but the structure to carry it is expended in most cases and is a cost. The effect is to remove at least 1/2 of the costs of the first stage. DeltaV saving for the design is modest but that is a log law function so gains are considerable. The greatest improvement would be in the potential for reusable stages of the vehicle, and the increase in safety, lifting 750T from zero at sea level is a much bigger deal than launching 250T at 40,000'.



The size of the final staged payload is not constrained that much, the geometry permits a Delta or Ariane style large diameter payload to sit in front of the centre section. Cost is the main driver, but there is a safety case to be made as well.

Would be a shame to see it not work for its living. It's not too far removed from Branson's program, and the SSC, would look good in Virgin or NASA colours.
fdr is offline  
Old 6th Jun 2019, 04:55
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: PNW
Posts: 73
Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Presumably the decision to leave the fuselages unconnected at the tail was driven by the need to accommodate the large launch vehicle fitted between them.
Unless the plan was to drop the launcher before starting the rocket engines, but that would have negated much of the reuse-ability of the concept.
That may be the reason for no P-38 style tail boom. The plan might have been to insure initial rocket ignition (or very close to it) before making the drop. Like the way the X-15 was deployed back in the day off the B-52 wing. You don't drop something that expensive without knowing you've got the fires lit.

I wonder what the procedure would have been for landing with a rocket and expensive satellite payload that failed to fire. That would be one hairy landing.
Photonic is offline  
Old 6th Jun 2019, 16:07
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: shiny side up
Posts: 366
Twin booms vs twin tails....
Even at subsonic speeds, certain surfaces can experience localized supersonic boundary layer airflow.
Due to these localized boundary layer differences on the surfaces, there is exceptional airframe flutter. (which gets worse as the aircraft approaches supersonic speeds)

It is better to disconnect them and have twin tails that can flutter independently and be controlled separately.
Smythe is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2019, 20:09
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Medically Grounded
Posts: 90
The aircraft has been put up for sale.

Vulcan selling Strato-launch
Piper_Driver is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2019, 21:04
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 76
Posts: 1,058
Salute!

Some air museum should be getting ready, but the damned thing is so big it will have to sit in the sun, snow, hail, rain wind while slowly degrading.

Gums sends...
gums is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2019, 21:25
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Equatorial
Age: 46
Posts: 356
Who is going to pay $400 mil???
Global Aviator is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2019, 21:27
  #19 (permalink)  
Psychophysiological entity
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Tweet Rob_Benham Famous author. Well, slightly famous.
Age: 79
Posts: 4,647
Now if a computer controlled the tails as independent units, they could both be caused to follow a central line . . . one imagines.
Loose rivets is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2019, 22:40
  #20 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 105
Presumably companies would buy it mostly for the intellectual property--patents, etc.
PastTense is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.