Stratolaunch Eyes Operations From Kennedy Space Center

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Stratolaunch vehicle. (Credit: Stratolaunch)

Stratolaunch vehicle. (Credit: Stratolaunch)

Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch Systems is eying the Kennedy Space Center as its base of operations, beginning with a demonstration flight of the air-launch system from the former Shuttle Landing Facility in 2017, CEO Gary Wentz tells Florida Today:

Stratolaunch, which was publicly introduced in December 2011, hopes to provide lower-cost launches by freeing itself from ground-based range infrastructure and weather restrictions and enabling quicker flight turnarounds.

“They have an opportunity to change the paradigm for the launch industry,” said Frank DiBello, CEO of Space Florida, the state’s aerospace development agency. “If they can put a significant lift capability in place at the price points they’re thinking about, they’ll have a significant mark on the marketplace.”

Wentz has discussed Stratolaunch’s future plans and facility needs with DiBello and KSC officials, but any formal commitment is likely still a year or two away….

Those operations would employ just 50 to 100 people, Wentz estimated, “to keep things as lean as we can and keep the cost down.”

But DiBello said Stratolaunch presented “multifaceted” opportunities for the Space Coast.

“It’s not just the thing that’s flying, even though that’s impressive in itself,” he said. “It’s the customers that it brings with it, it’s the payloads that need to be supported and processed for launch, it’s the launch vehicle itself, it’s the facilities associated with support of that vehicle.”

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