Paul Allen Stratolaunch Press Conference — Live Blogging


11:01 — Press conference to start within five minutes

Quite a impressive lineup on this project — Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites, SpaceX, Dynetics and Paul Allen and his millions….

Comment from reader: This explains what they’ve been doing over at Scaled….it’s been a bit of a mystery to everyone in Mojave…Also helps explain why Scaled and Virgin Galactic formed The Spaceship Company….Scaled would not have the bandwidth to build production vehicles and do this….

Interesting to see Mike Griffin involved…

Some facts about while we wait:

  • Largest aircraft ever built — gross weight of more than 1.2 million pounds and a wingspan of more than 380 feet with six 747 engines

OK….Here we go….Allen is up next…

Allen:

Space exploration was awesome back in the day….Gagarin

Like so many kids, wanted to be an astronaut but was near sided and had no expertise in rocketry, either

SpaceShipOne was awesome — had a great time working with Burt Rutan on that….

With government ambitions fading in space, more opportunity for private space activities…

Just showed a cool animation….

Burt Rutan

There’s a large mistake on the video and in the model….Does not show anything for comparison (747, etc.)

Been looking at commercial space ideas for 25 years….

One idea — put together two 747s together….he thought it was a stupid idea (Editor’s Note: which is pretty much what this looks like)

Paul Allen has been the perfect business partner and customer…

Mike Griffin

Doesn’t say much…Unfortunate tendency to drone on and drain all the excitement out of the room

Q&A

Business Model:

Stratolaunch is an independent company working with three partners

Will do flight testing out of Mojave Air & Space Port

Rocket will be developed in Hawthorne, launch vehicle in Mojave, and systems integration in Huntsville

3 companies are subcontractors, not putting their own money into it

Burt: I designed SpaceShipOne but had nothing to do with SpaceShipTwo — not really designing Stratolaunch

I’m not sharing technical information on Stratolaunch with competitors

Griffin: I have been critical of “so called” commercial efforts sponsored by government — drone drone drone — This is different…financial wherewithal to make it through the inevitable development failures…

Vulcan CEO — Rocket will be Falcon derived vehicle — Falcon 4 or Falcon 5

Vulcan CEO — have identified two 747s they will acquire — initial test flight in 2015 time frame and initial launch in 2016 time fame

Griffin — can launch commercial satellites — performance level similar to Delta II rockets

Rutan: unlimited number of payloads that are being built at home with unskilled labor that can be launched into space (Editor’s Note: Huh?)

Rutan:  the vehicle is very close to being built as soon as we have a building to construct it in

Griffin: capacity to launch a six-person vehicle to space….

Rutan: cost of sending people into space went up with space shuttle — need several breakthroughs to make it cheaper to get to space