Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Microsoft Founder’s Rocket Plane Hybrid: One Giant Leap For Mankind

[ via Mashable ] 14 Dec

Tuesday’s announcement from Microsoft co-founder (and somewhat reclusive billionaire) Paul Allen of a $200 million company, Stratolaunch Systems, that will marry the designs of two of the space industry’s most important inventors: Burt Rutan and Elon Musk, is going to go down in history as a hallmark day.

Rutan is the creator of SpaceShipOne, the world’s first commercial spacecraft, which was launched from the top of a light aircraft called White Knight. The plane took care of those crucial first 30,000 feet of a launch, where Earth’s hold on us is hardest to break. This is how Virgin Galactic will be sending its first tourists to space in 2013.

But Allen's hybrid rocket plane — due this decade, larger than any aerial vehicle yet built, can put anything and anyone in orbit. The Stratolauch system will uesher ina revolution in travel to space by those who can afford it.

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