A few months after her deathfounder Paul Allen (better known as co-founder of Microsoft), Stratolaunch Systems decided to close several projects aimed at developing spacecraft launch systems. This is the portal GeekWire. Recall that the Stratolaunch is currently developing the largest aircraft in the world and it is almost ready for its first flight.
In addition to developing the world's largestthe aircraft, which is a two-body flying platform for launching rockets into low near-earth orbit, the company planned to create a reusable spaceplane, a new type of rocket engine and three rockets. These projects were announced in August last year. To date, all these projects, except for the aircraft, which is almost ready for its first flight, were at the “design” stage. According to the news source, it was finally decided to abandon most of them, focusing on developing a flying platform for space launches.
First launch of the new Medium Launch rocketVehicle "own development was planned to be implemented in 2022. The report indicates that last July, Stratolaunch had already tested a key component for its new PGA hydrogen engine, named after the company's founder, Paul Gardner Allen, but it looks like the project will not be completed.
Test gas generator rocket engine Stratolaunch Systems
"Stratolaunch stops developing familylaunchers and rocket engine. We will optimize and direct all forces to the project of the flying platform and its preparation for the demonstration launch of the new Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket. We are proud of our achievements and look forward to the first flight to be held in 2019, ”the company said.
According to the source, Stratolaunch has already reduced 50 employees, leaving only 20 people on staff who will continue to work on the aircraft and prepare it for the first launch this year.
A huge two-body machine weighing 227 tons witha wingspan of 117 meters will be intended for ascent into the upper atmosphere of a compact spacecraft, which in turn will be used for further ascent and output, for example, of small satellites into low near-earth orbit. Last week, the giant machine was once again taken out of the hangar and dispersed on the runway at the Mojave Airport (California, USA) to 200 kilometers per hour.
Unfortunately, a company representative with whomJournalists talked GeekWire did not specify what caused the rejection of the majority of previously announced projects. But, apparently, we are talking about a lack of funding. GeekWire notes that many founders of private space companies are investing their own funds in developing their projects. For example, Jeff Bezos, as well as Sir Richard Branson, invested about $ 1 billion each in their Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic companies, respectively.
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