Vulcan Aerospace Stratolaunch Systems Carrier History

The Stratolaunch Carrier Aircraft is an in-development aircraft set to serve as a reusable space rocket / satellite release platform. The project is being headed by Vulcan Aerospace, owned Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and has been developed in conjunction with Scaled Composites (Burt Rutan). The partnership has already provided earlier fruits through the SpaceShipOne initiative of 2003. Work on Stratolaunch began in 2010 and the incomplete aircraft was unveiled to the public in a rollout ceremony at the Mojave Air and Space Port Hangar in California in May of 2017. This hangar was specially constructed for this large aircraft.

Engineers have elected for a twin-fuselage arrangement with a straight wing mainplane and the mainplane is divided into three major sections that include outboard planes as well as a conjoining central plane located between the fuselages. The fuselages are slab-sided and each hold an inline retractable wheeled undercarriage. Twenty-wheels dot the undercarriage which sports multiple legs with multiple bogies per set. At the rear of the fuselages are traditional single-finned tail units. Each fuselage also contains a flight deck at the usual nose position with a commanding view over the approach. Six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines (air-breathing) of 56,750lb thrust each are used to power the aircraft with three of these nacelles underslung at each outboard mainplane's leading edge. Cargo will be held centrally at hardpoints located under the central wing mainplane.

Dimensions of Stratolaunch includes an overall length of 238 feet and a wingspan of 385 feet - the widest of any aircraft ever constructed. Comparatively the Soviet-Ukrainian Antonov An-225 (detailed elsewhere on this site) is longer at 275 feet. However, the wingspan of Stratolaunch bests Howard Hughes' classic transport, the H-4 "Spruce Goose" (detailed elsewhere on this site), which carried a 320-foot wingspan.

Stratolaunch will take-off and land from conventional runways under its own power though, due to its size, the aircraft will require some 12,000 feet of runway distance during its take-off action. Cargo loads will be flown up to 35,000 feet for release into Low Earth Orbit. The aircraft is listed with a payload capability of 500,000lb and has n estimated range out to 2,300 miles.

A first-flight is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2019. It is scheduled to begin the requisite ground testing phase which includes engine evaluation and ground running.

Vulcan Aerospace Stratolaunch Systems Carrier Specification

BASICS

Service Year

2019

Origin

United States

Status

IN-DEVELOPMENT

Program in Progress.

Crew

4

Production

1

MANUFACTURER(S)

Vulcan Aerospace / Scaled Composites - USA

OPERATORS

United States (planned)

ROLES

Transport

General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.

X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)

Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS

Length

239. 5 ft

(73. 00 m)

Width/Span

383. 9 ft

(117. 00 m)

Empty Wgt

749,572 lb

(340,000 kg)

MTOW

1,300,727 lb

(590,000 kg)

Wgt Diff

+551,156 lb

(+250,000 kg)

POWER & PERFORMANCE

Installed:

6 x Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines developing 56,750lb of thrust each.

Ceiling

40,010 ft

(12,195 m | 8 mi)

Range

2,302 mi

(3,705 km | 6,862 nm)

ARMAMENT

None. Payload capability of up to 500,000lb.

VARIANTS

Stratolaunch - Base Series Name

Related stuff

1400 1514 1587 1765 1774 1775 1776 1782 1785 1786 1791 1797 1811 1813 1819 1840 1841 1842 1852 1853 1855 1856 1857 1859 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1873 1874 1875 1877 1878 1885 1886 1888 1889 1895 1896 1897 1898 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Contact