Space Goose’s Nest Grows in the Mojave

The Stratolaunch hangar continues to take shape at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. With the rear of the hangar assembled, beams are being put up for the front section which must be wide enough to accommodate a plane with a 385-foot wingspan.

Stratolaunch will build the world’s largest aircraft from composite materials. It will use a smaller version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to air-launch satellites into orbit.

The venture is being backed by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen.

Stratolaunch will have two buildings at the spaceport. The first structure, which has been completed, can be seen on the left in the upper photo and in the foreground below.

  • Joe

    That is one really big building. Can the runway at Mojave even handle an airplane that large?

  • Yes. Runway 12-30 is 12,500 feet long and was strengthened some years back. Airport officials knew this project was coming. Burt Rutan had been planning an air-launch system for about 9 years before Stratolaunch was announced.

    One thing Stratolaunch won’t be able to do is taxi. that’s why the hangar is being built right off the runway.

  • ReusablesForever

    Doug, as I see it, the Stratolauncher is going to have to taxi to some extent unless the runway is to be closed while it is being fueled and prepped – that could take hours. So, that says that there has to be at least a minimal taxiway and taxi capability to get onto the runway. And THAT taxiway has to be stressed for the 1.2 to 1.3 million pounds GTOW that’s being talked about.

  • Yes, you are correct. There’s a direct taxiway to the end of the runway. The rest of the taxiways can’t handle it, from what I understand. In fact, on at least one of them, the wings would crash right into the control tower.

  • Comga

    The photographer has a sense of humor. The image file names all start with “birdzilla_hanger_101412”.