NSS Hails Stratolaunch Initiative – A Pioneering Investment in Space

The National Space Society (NSS) hails the announcement of Stratolaunch Systems, a Paul G. Allen Project, as a pioneering investment in space transportation. The company has been formed to build a mobile air-launch-to-orbit system that will include three primary components:

• A carrier aircraft, developed by Scaled Composites, the aircraft manufacturer and assembler founded by Burt Rutan. It will be the largest aircraft ever flown.
• A multi-stage booster, manufactured by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies;
• A state-of-the-art mating and integration system allowing the carrier aircraft to safely carry a booster weighing up to 490,000 pounds. It will be built by Dynetics, a leader in the field of aerospace engineering.

“The Stratolaunch Initiative is another bold step towards the key goal of reducing the cost of space travel” said Gary Barnhard, Executive Director of the National Space Society. “By providing a less costly, more flexible, and timely launch capability than existing ground-based systems, the Stratolaunch team intends to achieve routine airport-like space transportation services to orbital destinations. NSS wishes clear skies ahead for their efforts,” he concluded.

With an envisioned payload capability of 13,500 pounds cargo and/or crewed spacecraft delivered to Low Earth Orbit, a fully reusable first stage air-launch carrier, and the potential for evolution to a winged returnable second stage, the initiative holds great promise. More background information on the Stratolaunch concept can be found in their presskit.

In their announcement yesterday, Stratolaunch said, “… space has long been on Allen’s mind. In the close of his memoir, Idea Man, published earlier this year, he hinted at his plans, writing that he was ‘considering a new initiative with that magical contraption I never wearied of sketching as a boy: the rocket ship.” NSS thanks Paul for endeavoring to bring his boyhood dreams into reality in this historic way.

Since 1974, NSS has been working to bring forward the day when humans will be living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the vast resources of space are brought to bear for the dramatic betterment of humanity. Commercial space initiatives are bringing that day ever closer.


Picture of National Space Society

National Space Society

Leave a Comment

future 1

Don't Miss a Beat!

Be the first to know when new articles are posted!

Follow Us On Social Media


Give The Gift Of Space: Membership For Friends and Family

Book Review


ISDC 2024:

International Space Development Conference May 23rd-26th, 2024


Image of Kalpana One space settlement courtesy Bryan Versteeg, spacehabs.com $32,000 in Cash Awards Given for Best Space-Related Business Plans — Deadline March 1, 2024

Category: Nonfiction Reviewed by: John J. Vester Title: Nuclear Rockets: To the Moon and Mars Author: Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried Format: Paperback/Kindle Pages: 270 Publisher:

Partially Successful Flight Reached Space and Demonstrated New “Hot Staging” System The National Space Society congratulates SpaceX on the second test of its Starship/Super Heavy

Ad Astra, the NSS quarterly print, digital, and audio magazine, has won a 2023 MARCOM Gold Award. The awards are given yearly for “Excellence in

By Jennifer Muntz, NSS Member Coordinator On October 10th, an inspiring breakfast event took flight at the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space

By Grant Henriksen NSS Policy Committee Benefit sharing is a concept that refers to the distribution of benefits derived from the exploration and use of

People residing and working in space, space settlements, or on long-duration space flights will need to produce infrastructures and food to maintain healthy lifestyles. The

Image: Artist’s concept of the Blue Moon lander. Credit: Blue Origin. Second Human Landing System Contract Encourages Competition and Innovation The National Space Society congratulates