Feeds

Paul Allen proposes new space launcher

Stratolaunch building BLOODY BIG 747-powered lifter

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is indulging his enthusiasm for space travel with a new project: a giant aircraft designed for mid-flight rocket launchers.

And he doesn’t think small: under a new company, Stratolaunch Systems, Allen plans to put together the “biggest airliner ever built” using six 747 engines to haul SpaceX rockets carrying payloads, satellites and – if SpaceX can get human-rated – people into low-Earth orbit.

There’s a certain patriotic thread to Allen’s announcement: “For the first time since John Glenn, America cannot fly its own astronauts into space,” he is quoted as saying by AFP.

Finding airstrips will also be non-trivial, since the lifter would need around 3.65 Km of runway to get airborne. It will weigh around 544,000 kilos and have a wingspan of 117 meters (1.2 million pounds and 380 feet, respectively).

Allen said the project will cost more than his SpaceShipOne craft, which achieved sub-orbital flight after a $US25 million investment.

The airplane-based launcher would, Allen said, be more flexible than ground-based rocket launches, and would also be cheaper. Allen says that Soyuz manned launches will soon cost around $US63 million per seat, enough to give him confidence that he can compete on price. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.