Stratolaunch Systems, a Paul G. Allen project, is developing an air-launch system that will revolutionize space transportation by providing orbital access to space at lower costs, with greater safety and more
flexibility. Delivering payloads in the 10,000lbm class into low earth orbit, the system allows for maximum operational flexibility and payload delivery from several possible operational sites, while inimizing mission constraints such as range availability and weather.
Developing nation: United States of America.
Manufacturer/designer: Scaled Composites/Burt Rutan.
Type aircraft: Six-engine carrier aircraft.
First flight: 2016.
Stratolaunch Systems is a space transportation venture specializing in air launch to orbit, with its corporate headquarters located in Huntsville, Alabama. It was founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan, who had previously collaborated on the creation of SpaceShipOne.
The air-launch system is made up of four primary elements: a carrier aircraft, a multi-stage booster, a mating and integration system, and an orbital payload. Initial efforts will focus on unmanned payloads; however, human flights will follow as safety, reliability, and operability are demonstrated.
Stratolaunch Systems has assembled a team of innovative aerospace leaders to build and deliver a commercial air launch system.
Scaled Composites will build the carrier aircraft; SpaceX will provide the booster and space launch mission design and mission integration services; Dynetics will provide program management and systems engineering and integration, as well as test and operations support to Stratolaunch; Dynetics will also build the mating and integration system hardware. Stratolaunch Systems headquarters are in Huntsville, Alabama, and its aircraft hangar is in Mojave, California.
The carrier aircraft, built by Scaled Composites, weighs more than 1.2 million pounds and has a wingspan of 117 m (385 feet) – greater than the length of a football field. The carrier aircraft will be the largest aircraft ever constructed.and will weigh in at over 540,000 kg (1,200,000 pounds). The aircraft will be powered by 6 × 46,000-66,500lb thrust range Turbine Engines planned to be sourced from Boeing 747 engines and other components (flight deck, landing gear) from the 400-series The air-launch system requires a takeoff and landing runway that is, at minimum, 3,700 m (2,000 feet) long. The carrier aircraft can fly over 2,100 km (1,300 nautical miles) to reach an optimal launch point.
SpaceX’s multi-stage booster is derived from the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. At approximately 36.57 m (120 feet) long, The launch vehicle will have a launch mass of approximately 220,000 kilograms (490,000 lb) and will have the goal of inserting a 6,100 kilograms (13,000 lb) payload into low Earth orbit. After release of the booster from the aircraft at approximately 30,000 feet, the first stage engines ignite and the spacecraft begins its journey into space. After the first stage burn and a short coast period, the second stage ignites and the orbital payload proceeds to its planned mission. The booster’s health and status during flight is monitored from the carrier aircraft and on the ground.
Mating and Integration System
Built by Dynetics, the mating and integration system (MIS) provides the single interface between the carrier aircraft and the booster. The MIS includes all systems required for the booster to interface with the carrier aircraft, including mechanical, electrical, thermal, fluids, and gases. The MIS is designed to safely and securely carry a booster weighing up to roughly 500,000 pounds. The MIS will secure the booster to the carrier aircraft, from taxiing to flight maneuvers to release of booster. In the case of a mission abort, the MIS will keep the booster secure during return to base and landing.
- Wingspan: 117 m (385 ft)
- Gross weight: 544,311 kg (1,200,000 lb)
- Powerplant: 6 × 46,000-66,500lb thrust rangeTurbine Engines planned to be sourced from a Boeing 747
Source and image Stratolaunch Systems.
The British Aircraft Corporation Tactical Strike/Reconnaissance 2 (TSR-2) was an ill-fated Cold War strike aircraft developed by the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the early 1960s. The TSR-2 project ran from 1957 until its cancellation in the budget speech on 5 April 1965.
Developing nation: United Kingdom.
Manufacturer/designer: British Aircraft Corporation.
Number built: 10 (not all completed, only 1 flew).
Type aircraft: Tactical Strike/Reconnaissance aircraft
First flight: 27 September 1964 XR219.
Last flight: 1965.
Primary user: Royal Aircraft Establishment.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 27.12 m (89 ft ½ in)
- Wingspan: 11.27 m (37 ft 1¾ in)
- Height: 7.24 m (23 ft 9 in)
- Wing area: 65.3 m² (702.9 ft²)
- Empty weight: 24,834 kg (54,750 lb)
- Loaded weight: 36,169 kg (79,573 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 46,357 kg (102,200 lb)
- Powerplant: 2× Bristol Siddeley Olympus BOl.22R (Mk. 320) turbojet
- Dry thrust: 19,610 lb (87.23 kN) each
- Thrust with afterburner: 30,610 lbf (136.7 kN) each
- Maximum speed: Mach 1.1 at sea level (Mach 2.05 at 11 km (36,000ft)
- Range: 1,850 km (1,150 m)
- Service ceiling: 16,459 m (54,000 ft)
- Thrust/weight: 0.77
- Internal weapons bay, 6 m (20 ft ) with (initially) 1 Red Beard 15 kt nuclear weapon or as intended 2 x OR.1177 300kt nuclear weapons (cancelled) or 6 x 1,000 lb (450 kg) HE bombs. Final designed normal load in nuclear role of 4 x WE.177A nuclear weapons, two side-by-side in weapons bay, two on external underwing stores pylons.
- or 4 x 37 rocket packs or nuclear weaponry on inner pylons only.
Maximum of 9,000 kg (20,000 lb) of bombs.
- Autonetics Verdan autopilot modified by Elliot Automation
- Ferranti (terrain following radar and navigation/attack systems)
- EMI (sideways looking radar)
- Marconi (general avionics)
- Cossor (IFF)
- Plessey (Radio)
Originally concieved as a replacement for the RAF’s Canberra bomber, the design process started in 1956 with a protracted series of proposals and counter-proposals between aircraft manufacturers and the now-defunct Ministry of Supply. With the cost of developing modern aircraft soaring, it became necessary for companies to pool their resources in order to compete, and it was the merging of English Electric with Vickers to form the British Aircraft Corporation, or BAC, that secured the tender to develop the TSR2.
The TSR-2 was designed to penetrate a well-defended forward battle area at low altitudes and very high speeds, and then attack high-value targets in the rear with close-in bomb runs and precision drops. The TSR-2 included a number of advanced features that made it the highest performing aircraft in this role. Despite dire warnings from the engine manufacturers the flight was duly made on the 27th of September 1964. Aerodynamically the aircraft was almost entirely trouble-free even though it was impossible to retract the undercarriage!
As time progressed the numourous problems with the TSR2 were slowly ironed out, and from the mass of problems began to emerge an aircraft of quite glittering performance. The undercarriage problem was finally rectified after the 10th test flight, and on flight 14 the aircraft went supersonic for the first and only time, this being achieved with only one engine in afterburn.
After the budget speech on 5 April 1965 the British government decided that the estimated costs of research, development and production of the TSR-2 would be prohibitive and cancelled the project. The maiden flight of the second prototype aircraft, XR220, was due on the day of the announcement, but in the event it never happened, and only the first prototype, XR219, ever took to the air. XR219, was taken to Shoeburyness shooting range and used as a target to test the vulnerability of a modern airframe and systems to gunfire.
- XR220 (X-02) is on display at the RAF Museum Cosford, England.
- XR222 (X-04) is on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, England.
- Cockpit section on display at the Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey
All pictures courtesy of Zijde Aviation Photo and Publishing, Rob Vogelaar
Multipurpose amphibious aircraft for the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations is intended for:
- rendering urgent help in critical areas of emergency;
- search&rescue missions in the sea, ambulance missions;
- air freighting.
Developing nation: Russia.
Manufacturer/designer: Beriev aircraft Company
Production line: Taganrog.
Number built: 9.
Type aircraft: amphibious aircraft purpose-built as a water bomber.
First flight: 24 September 1998.
First delivery: 31 July 2003.
Currently the contract concluded with the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations for the delivery of seven Be-200ES aircraft is being performed. The first serial Be-200ES amphibian took off on its maiden flight from the aerodrome in Irkutsk on June 17, 2003 and was handed over to the aviation group of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations.
One Be-200ES aircraft was delivered to foreign customer in Azerbaijan in 2008.
The serial production is kept on, with one aircraft produced each year. In August/September 2004, the Be-200ES aircraft demonstrated successful operation in Italy under an agreement between BERIEV and SOREM, the latter being the official firefighting aircraft operator authorized by the Civil Defense Department (Protezione Civile) of Italy.
In August/September 2004, the Be-200ES aircraft demonstrated successful operation in Italy under an agreement between BERIEV and SOREM, the latter being the official firefighting aircraft operator authorized by the Civil Defense Department (Protezione Civile) of Italy.
In 2010, production of the Be-200 is due to switch to the Centre of competence for amphibian aircraft and flying boats in Taganrog. An assembly line is being set up using tooling and equipment received from Irkut’s main manufacturing site in Irkutsk, Siberia.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 32.0 m (105 ft 0 in)
- Wingspan: 32.8 m (107 ft 7 in)
- Height: 8.9 m (29 ft 2 in)
- Wing area: 117.4 m² (1,264 ft²)
- Empty weight: 27,600 kg (60,850 lb)
Max Take Off Weight (Land): 41,000 kg (90,390 lb)
- Max Take Off Weight (Water): 37,900 kg (83,550 lb)
- Max Capacity (Water or Retardant): 12,000 kg (26,450 lb)
- Max Capacity (Cargo): 7,500 kg (16,530 lb)
- Max Capacity (Passengers): 44 (Be-200ES) 72 (Be-210)
- Powerplant: 2× Progress D-436TP turbofans, 7,500 kgf (16,534 lbf) each
- Maximum speed: 700 km/h (435 mph)
- Cruise speed: 560 km/h (348 mph)
Economy speed: 550 km/h (342 mph)
- Landing speed: 200 km/h (124 mph)
- Takeoff speed: 220 km/h (137 mph)
- Minimum speed (Flaps 38°): 157 km/h (98 mph)
- Range: 2,100 km (1,305 mi)
- Ferry range (One Hour Reserve): 3,300 km (2,051 mi)
- Service ceiling: 8,000 m (26,246 ft)
- Rate of climb: 13 m/s (2,600 ft/min) (At Sea Level and MTOW – Flaps 20°)
- Rate of climb: 17 m/s (3,350 ft/min) (At Sea Level and MTOW – Flaps 0°)
- ARIA 200-M integrated avionics system.