Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Synergistic Space Access

So, you're Paul Allen, and you're into space.... Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites makes nice, jet-powered, recoverable/reusable boosters, but their payload spacecraft are suborbital; Elon Musk's SpaceX makes excellent rockets, has orbited payloads and is working their way up to really big boosters.

What if you just got the two together? Why, Stratolaunch, is what, delivering SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to low Earth orbit, any inclination, with lower fuel costs than any other launch system. (Unless the Russians have taken to siphoning booster fuel from Chinese missiles -- talk about a win-win!)

Claire Wolfe saw it, too.

Looks like civilization may yet set up a branch office outside this dear ol' ball of mud. Maybe even in time for me to visit after I retire. Mr. Allen, please keep on keepin' on!Link


Stranger said...

I tend to agree with Stephen Hawking. We need to establish seed colonies off Earth - and as soon as it is feasible, out of the Solar system.

At 79 I won't make the trip. Hopefully, my great greats will. Because humanity's survival depends on it.


Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

This is the best* news I've heard in a while!

It's also a logical progression for the White Knight/SpaceShip series. As also pointed out at The Unwanted Blog you linked to, the carrier vehicle could have other uses, too, including carrying cargo or passenger pods instead of the rocket.


* And it would be even if the last week hadn't been pretty dang crappy.

Panamared said...

I have always thought that God gave man curiosity so that we would not stop exploring. It may be that there is more to discover under the oceans than we have yet found on the surface of the planet, but the stars are out there in plane sight, we do tend to want what we can see.

Anonymous said...

I noticed in the 'I Work On A Spaceship' series that the big ships stay outside of atmosphere, and smaller ships ferry to/from the ground.

This idea looks like another stage, to make the ground-to-upper-atmosphere portion of ground-to-LEO a little easier.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I want to be among the First to "Occupy Luna City."

Loose Gravel said...

A giant aircraft to launch orbital payloads... did someone find a pile of leftover plans from Nazi Germany, circa 1944? Or is there one last dreamer left over from the R&D branch of the Luftwaffe? I think it is a great idea, but the first thing I thought of were some of the more adventurous Nazi plans involving giant aircraft. Perhaps their time has come back around? (Giant planes, not Nazis.)

On a separate, but slightly related note, if their time HAS come back around, does this mean somebody out there might build a flying boat again? Please?

Roberta X said...

Nazi Germany never built a flying boatthat was worth a darn. And Sanger's Silbervogel's first stage was a rocket sled on a track, not an airplane.

WW II German engineering gets all kinds of PR, but remember that's as a result of handing money to any loony with a nifty-sounding idea; it's as though the kids that hung out in the back of your homeroom drawing tanks and D&D maps got to run R&D funding: a lot of kewl ideas, very little of which were ever made to work. 60, 70 years on, you can match some cocktail-napkin notions to hardware that was later built but there's way more that was unworkable from the outset.

Roberta X said...

PR, you do know your "fist" is unmistakeable, don't you?