Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul G Allen has set foot down a path trailblazed generations ago by another eccentric business kingpin: he intends to build the biggest aircraft ever flown. However unlike Howard Hughes' monster "Spruce Goose" 1940s flying boat, Allen's plan appears at least feasible and he has some big names on …
Left ! I said LEFT, you stupid mo....(plane berakup noises ensue).
Just like government problems, I would think that this program would be highly susceptible to cost overruns, and in a program like this, those overruns could be ruinous to even someone of Paul Allen's wealth.
It will be interesting to see how it goes.
If it goes up with the plane then surely it can carry more cargo and still land itself on the rockets.
Well we had the Spruce Goose....how about the Plastic Flying Pig?
Will this go the way of our Hotol?
Will we be able to fly from London to Kinshasa and back in 28 minutes?..
Keep watching the skies!
PS I'm sure Gerry Anderson had prior art on this....perhaps he can sue the Fruity one when they've got all Paul Allens money in their copyright suit.
When I were a lad there was a scifi story about using flying boats to get to orbit, slowly spiralling up from the earth's surface with a succession of different engines.
It took a school scienc teacher a few seconds to dismiss the idea in terms of amount of fuel. It takes a rocket 9 seconds to climb the gravity well. The 2 days of the flying boat, acquiring the same amount of potential energy would represent impossible amounts of fuel. This seems the same.
Alternative Payload Range - 9600 nautical miles
Having found the above nugget on their website, I suspect *that* is from whence the revenue stream will come. 9600 nautical miles hauling an An-225 size payload is a massive USP (nothing else comes close).
The airborne launch is probably a side-show, given that "Big Dumb Booster" (e.g. Sea Bee) is a cheaper way to get the "launch from anywhere" benefits.
Interesting idea about the alternative use - hadn't thought of it.
Is there a market for very large objects weighing less than 50 tonnes but are still too big to fit INSIDE a 747 freighter (or the A380 freighter version if they ever get around to building it)?
re: Market for 50 tonne objects too big to fit inside a 747/A380/An225 :
I must admit to having no idea!
Although I think the range is a very important part of the sale, if they are saying they can carry the 50 tonnes the entire 9600 nautical miles in one go (other aircraft in this calls have to trade fuel for payload I believe).
However, since they appear to have designed the "payload carrier" on a modular basis, it may be that it can carry more than 50 tonnes anyway if the payload is fixed rather than being launched; the weight limitation for the rocket could well be specific to things you plan to drop. There isn't enough information to be sure.
The modular approach also implies that they can build a bespoke fairing to suit anything, so awkward objects (e.g. oil rig derricks, bridge spans) can have a custom container. Could be a big as yet untapped market. Landing on the ice in Alaska perhaps?
We'll see ...
A normal lift-off for a rocket produces only vertical G-s, along the main axis of the rocket. Most rockets are built horizontally, and lifted very carefully to the vertical, where it can take massive amounts of G-s ... vertically.
On such a plane, the rocket would need to be re-inforced to handle the lateral forces that no normal rocket has to endure, reducing by as much the pay-load.
This won't work.