【世界上最大的飞机:协助卫星发射不是梦】

【世界上最大的飞机:协助卫星发射不是梦】商业航天公司Stratolaunch制造的庞大飞机 ,翼展可达385英尺 。其首席执行官让·弗洛伊德表示,无论有效载荷与轨道如何,将卫星送入太空将很快就像预订航空公司的航班一样容易。预计在未来几年,发射服务市场将快速增长,因此Stratolaunch将热衷于保持2022年的目标,以便有机会获得有意义的市场份额。不过除了建造中型运载火箭外,Stratolaunch还需要对其巨大的载机飞机进行全面测试,目前,该飞机尚未进行首飞。

The world’s biggest plane now has some rockets to launch

Competing with the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (a Boeing and Lockheed Martin partnership), Stratolaunch is aiming to become the go-to mobile launch platform for private firms wanting to put satellites into orbit.

In a major step toward achieving its goal, the Seattle, Washington-based company, which was founded by billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen seven years ago, this week unveiled a family of rocket-powered launch vehicles that it wants to put into service from 2020.

They include the Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV) for payloads of up to 3,400 kg. The MLVis now in development, with testing slated for 2022.

There’s also the MLV Heavy, a three-core MLV variant capable of delivering payloads of up to 6,000 kg into orbit. This one is described as being in the early stages of development.

Completing the trio of MLVs is the MLV Reusable, described by Stratolaunch as a “fully reusable space plane that enables advanced in-orbit capabilities and cargo return.” Currently in the design stage, the initial version will focus on cargo launches, with a later version modified for transporting crew.

Finally, there’s the diminutive Pegasus, which has already achieved more than 30 successful launches with another carrier and can deliver payloads of up to a modest 370 kg. Stratolaunch wants to put Pegasus into service using its own system in 2020.

World’s largest airplane

Similar in some ways to Virgin Galactic’s launch system that uses an aircraft to get its secondary rocket-powered vehicle to a higher altitude rather than launching it from the ground, Stratolaunch’s gargantuan plane — with its 385-foot wingspan — will fly the launch vehicles to the stratosphere before releasing them to complete their satellite-deployment mission.

Commenting on the Monday, August 20 unveiling, Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said, “We are excited to share for the first time some details about the development of our own, proprietary Stratolaunch launch vehicles … which will offer a flexible launch capability unlike any other.”

Floyd added: “Whatever the payload, whatever the orbit, getting your satellite into space will soon be as easy as booking an airline flight.”

The launch services market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, so Stratolaunch will be keen to stay on track with its 2022 target to have any chance of securing a meaningful chunk of the market. Besides building the MLVs, it also needs to fully test its enormous carrier plane, which has yet to take its maiden flight.

Stratolaunch says that using its huge airplane and collection of launch vehicles will make space “accessible, affordable, and routine.”

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/the-worlds-biggest-plane-now-has-some-rockets-to-launch/


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