Stratolaunch plane is an aircraft designed to send a satellite and manned space shuttle into space. The aircraft is the largest aircraft ever produced in the world. The Stratolaunch aircraft project was launched by Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen. The space adventure of mankind was in 1957 in the S.S.C.B. It started with the Sputnik 1 satellite sent to space by However, since then, all kinds of satellites and manned space shuttles sent into space have been sent to space by means of rockets launched from the ground. This method is both expensive and time-consuming in preparation. In addition, as demonstrated by accidents such as the Challenger accident in the past, the smallest mistake to be made can result in a major disaster.
Paul Allen states that the Stratolaunch project aims to make all kinds of satellite and manned shuttle transmissions to space cheaper, less time consuming, and thus making the journey to space a routine process (just like the intercontinental air travels we do).
Stratolaunch aircraft has a total of 6 Boeing 747 engines. The aircraft has the capacity to carry 226 tons of useful weight. The range of the aircraft is planned to be approximately 3700 km (2000 NM). The plane will ascend to an altitude of about 35000 feet (10 km) and drop off satellite or manned shuttles that it will send into space. The aircraft is planned to have a crew of three in total.
The Stratolaunch aircraft project was started in 2011. The first ground taxi tests of the aircraft started in December 2017. During these tests, the plane reached a speed of 46 km per hour on the runway. Ground tests of the aircraft are still ongoing. The aircraft is planned to have its first flight by 2019. According to the statement made by the company in 2011, when the project started, the cost of the plane is expected to reach 300 million dollars.
Considering the data of NASA, it is seen that a total of 133 satellites or space shuttles were sent to space between 1981 and 2011. At this point, it is seen that approximately 4 shipments are made annually. It is planned to send at least 6 satellites or space shuttles per year with the Stratolaunch aircraft. If the project is successful, if more of the same aircraft are produced, much more space shuttle will be able to be sent to space compared to previous periods. This will increase the speed of space exploration. If the project is successful, a new page will be opened in humanity’s space adventure.