The Stratolauncher and the Soviets

The Stratolauncher was announced a few months ago. It is an innovative design funded by Paul Allen (Microsoft’s other founder) and is a joint project of Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, with other companies making significant contributions. The project, under way for more than eight years in secrecy, looks like this:

Four years ago, I wrote about ScaleComposites’ work on a successor to SpaceShipOne, and commented on the new design, and its resemblance to the Soviet Project 52 of three decades earlier:

The Popular Science article talking about all the predecessors to the Stratolaunch system somehow does not mention the Myasishchev Project 52. My intent is not to downplay the planned accomplishment, or what’s already been done by the Stratolaunch team. And Project 52 was a concept that never flew, let alone carried a rocket. But the similarity seems greater than that of the “spaceplanes” that the article talks about.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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