Reply to post: Re: Right Direction?

Virgin 'spaceship' pilot 'unlocked tailbooms' going through sound barrier

Alan Brown Silver badge

Re: Right Direction?

"You do know the long term plan is to use the White Knight mothership to launch rockets that deploy satellites?"

The orbital payload for Pegasus rockets (air-launched from under a L-1011) is small and the payload for anything launched from White Knight would be similarly small.

The only advantage from air launching is ~20 seconds less in thicker air. The added speed is negligible compared with velocities necessary to attain/escape orbit.

The added complexity of air launching will make the whole exercise academic if/when SpaceX achieve routine first stage flyback/reuse (far larger payloads and lower per-kilo cost to orbit). SpaceX are reportedly aiming for second stage retrieval too and at that stage I'm fairly sure Pegasus and a bunch of other small launchers will be put out to pasture.

Aviation messed around with airlaunched systems in the 1930s heyday of flying boats but it proved much easier to make larger flying boats, for the same reasons. (The Short Mayo Composite)

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