Stratolaunch expects to conduct the first flight of its giant aircraft this summer as it develops a broad spectrum of launch services that will make use of it, the company said April 16.
The giant aircraft being developed by Stratolaunch as part of an air-launch system is one step closer to its first flight after a new series of taxi tests.
An agreement to do engine testing at a NASA center is the latest sign that Stratolaunch is considering developing its own launch vehicle for its giant aircraft.
Stratolaunch announced Sept. 19 that the company has achieved another milestone in the development of a unique giant aircraft that will serve as a launch platform.
Advocates of small satellites argue that such systems could offer a much-need “layer of resiliency” for national security space applications for as little as one percent of current spending on such programs.
A startup that aims to build 200 satellites a year is opening an automated manufacturing facility on a college campus and adding a former Paul Allen hire to its board of director.
As work on its giant aircraft nears completion, Stratolaunch Systems is still working to line up partners to provide launch vehicles to serve the growing small satellite market.
Vulcan Aerospace expects to make a decision this fall on the rocket, or rockets, it plans to use with its Stratolaunch air-launch system as it reorients itself toward a promising-looking launch market for small satellites.
In 2014, Paul Allen formed Vulcan Aerospace to realize his vision of easing access and convenience to space, and made Stratolaunch Systems a subsidiary. Vulcan Aerospace plans to cut the cost of sending rockets to low Earth orbit.
As it considers using the giant aircraft it is developing to launch several different types of launch vehicles, Stratolaunch Systems is pausing work on a crewed spacecraft.