• Bulldog

    It will be interesting to see comparisons to the Antonov AN-225 Mriya which also flies with six engines. The P&W 4000-40 does out class the 225’s Progress D-18T turbofans and the Stratolaunch aircraft must be much lighter than Antonov. Looking forward to the flight tests!

  • Douglas Messier

    This plane is astonishing to see when you can catch out in the wild. Jaw dropping. Saw it once fairly close up. The second time was from a highway some miles away. It was impressive even from that distance. Spruce Goose class, if that’s even a thing.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    I’m expecting a cargo pod at some point where they use it as a outsized cargo hauler. The AN-225 was kept busy in the first decade of the 21st cen I can’t see anything else keeping this one filled with Jet-A and flying.

  • James

    Question is how will it handle the landing.

  • Jeff2Space

    It’s absolutely Spruce Goose class. Truly one of a kind, which has its own hazzards. If you build a launch program based on it, what happens if Birdzillia has a bad landing which puts it out of commission for a year or more?

    After the Challenger Disaster, one of the things NASA did was buy another B-747 and convert it into another shuttle carrier aircraft. Having only one was a single point of failure for the program.

  • publiusr

    Fill the pod with CO2/silver nitrate and go hurricane busting, stormfury style.

  • publiusr

    That’s why STS’s orbiter should have been like one of the Buran concepts–self-ferry.

  • Jeff2Space

    Except that would have either meant dragging turbojet engines to orbit and back (turbofans would likely have been too big for this) or it would have meant something like removing the OMS pods and replacing them with turbojet/turbofan pods to enable self-ferry. Not impossible, but would have required significant work after each landing and then significant work after self-ferrying to remove the jet pods. Not to mention extra wear and tear on systems like brakes (which were quite marginal before the post-Challenger rework).

    A close to stock Boeing 747 might have cost more, but the nice thing about it was that it didn’t place much of a burden on the orbiter processing flows other than relatively straight forward SCA mounting/demount operations which reused the existing shuttle/ET attach points.

  • publiusr

    With Buran–the hydrogen burners were on Energiya where they belong–so turbojets would go where the OMS pods on STS go–so no biggie there.


    Yes it would take some doing–but having powered flight upon return from space may also appeal to the military.

    With Engines under the ET–as Energiya–you might have more than one type of orbiter even. A Faget striaght wing, a lifting body (maybe an orbiter with no payload pay–but something more compact…

  • Jeff2Space

    This is a common misconception. The Russian equivalent of Enterprise had turbojet engines so that it didn’t have to be carried aloft by a much larger carrier aircraft. On the one and only orbital flight of Buran, there were no turbojet engines.

  • publiusr

    Tha Analog–I know it wasn’t space-worthy–but serves as a general layout of what a good non-dead-stick orbiter might look like–minus cowls and such

  • Jeff2Space

    While true, I’m sure the Russians gained enough confidence in glide landings by test flying the OK-GLI that they decided not to sacrifice payload capability by including jet engines in the orbital design.

  • Maxtrue

    Some questions.

    1. Wouldn’t the take off be as interesting as the landing if some large rockets are being carried?

    2. What is the maximum height this craft can go? Is there any conceivable add on that could get it higher than its presently rated?

    3.Could someone far more informed than I am, explain why this would not be a great delivery system for a rocket-boosted ground penetrator (x) ? A 20 ton penetrator traveling downward at 20+ mach would be one hell of an impact.

    4. Such an object from the time it enters the ocean would take how long to reach sub crush depth? I assume rightly or wrongly the water column would be vaporized and not play a significant factor?

    5. Last, has anyone ever seen open source material on the effect of highly charged surfaces on ablation for very fast moving objects? The analogy would be the effect of air on supersonic torpedoes. Open sources have speculated on the ability to convert heat into charge.


  • Maxtrue

    I thought the BFR would fill some of that need. http://www.parabolicarc.com/2017/10/14/elon-musk-reddit-today/