stratolaunch plane could make space tourism affordable*
from the register: Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul G Allen has set foot down a path trailblazed generations ago by another eccentric business kingpin: he intends to build the biggest aircraft ever flown. However unlike Howard Hughes’ monster “Spruce Goose” 1940s flying boat, Allen’s plan appears at least feasible and he has some big names on board.
The scheme is the well-known one of using a jet aircraft high in the stratosphere as a launch platform for a rocket to carry payloads into space. This is already being done – and was used as a means of deploying anti-satellite weapons back in Cold War times – but Allen intends to scale up the concept massively, using a colossal aeroplane to lift bigger rockets than any before launched in mid-air and deliver much larger cargoes to orbit – perhaps one day, even manned spacecraft.
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