Stratolaunch, a Seattle-based space launch firm announced its new fleet of launch vehicles. It will include 4 launch vehicles of different sizes and payload capabilities, including a reusable space plane.
The company, which got founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, will use the worlds largest aircraft as a mobile launch platform. Stratolaunch wants to make access to space more convenient and affordable with their new fleet of spacecraft. Just a bit over one year ago, their launch aircraft got shown to the public as it entered the testing phase.
Their new lineup includes:
- Pegasus: With its existing track record of over 35 successful launches, Pegasus provides dependable access to orbit.
- Capability: 370 kg payload* for a single or triple configuration
- Status: Flight proven, integration and testing ongoing with first flight in 2020
- Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV): A new medium-class air-launch vehicle optimized for short satellite integration timelines, affordable launch and flexible launch profiles.
- Capability: 3,400 kg payload*
- Status: In development with first flight in 2022
- Medium Launch Vehicle – Heavy: A three-core MLV variant with a capability to deploy heavier payloads to orbit.
- Capability: 6,000 kg payload*
- Status: Early development
- Space Plane: A fully reusable space plane that enables advanced in-orbit capabilities and cargo return. Initial designs optimized for cargo launch, with a follow-on variant capable of transporting crew.
- Capability: Medium-class payload or crew
- Status: Design study
*Estimated performance for a 400 km circular orbit at 28.5°
This information was provided by Stratolaunch on their website.
The space race has entered a new era. Stratolaunch is beside Blue Origin the second space firm which is based in Washington-state. Recent developments in the US space race are coming from private firms like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Stratolaunch. NASA is still working on its Space Launch System (SLS), while other companies like SpaceX already plan to colonize Mars.
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