Stratolaunch’s plane took its first test flight in April. (Scaled Composites Photo)
Stratolaunch, the company that was founded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen in 2011 to build a flying launch pad for rockets, says it’s under new ownership.
The company reported the handover on Twitter and its website, without saying who the new owner is. However, information gleaned from the grapevine at Mojave Air and Space Port, where Stratolaunch’s flight operations are based, suggest that private investors are playing a role.
Here’s Stratolaunch’s statement:
“Stratolaunch LLC has transitioned ownership and is continuing regular operations. Our near-term launch vehicle development strategy focuses on providing customizable, reusable, and affordable rocket-powered testbed vehicles and associated flight services. As we continue on our mission, Stratolaunch will bring the carrier aircraft test and operations program fully in-house. We thank Vulcan Inc. and Scaled Composites for turning an ambitious idea into a flight-proven aircraft.”
In an email to GeekWire, Stratolaunch said it would not be granting interviews or sharing additional details at this time.
Stratolaunch owns the world’s biggest airplane, a twin-fuselage monster with a 385-foot wingspan, and sent it up into the sky from Mojave Air and Space Port for its first and only test flight in April. The plane, which was built for Stratolaunch by Mojave-based Scaled Composites, is designed to drop as many as three rockets for a mid-flight launch to orbit.
Allen established Stratolaunch under the aegis of his Vulcan Inc. holding company as a follow-up to his support for the SpaceShipOne rocket plane, which made use of a similar air-launch concept for crewed suborbital spaceflight.
When the venture was founded, nearly eight years ago, Allen aimed to take advantage of a market for midsize satellite launches — and over time, Stratolaunch looked into other concepts, including a hypersonic research vehicle, a new type of …read more