Rutan Tapped To Design World’s Largest Aircraft

AINalerts » December 15, 2011
The Stratolaunch mother ship would be powered by six used Boeing 747 engines and have a mtow of some 1.2 million pounds, similar to an Airbus A380. The project could cost $200 million, according to a Wall Street Journal estimate.
December 15, 2011, 3:26 PM

Burt Rutan, who retired in April from Scaled Composites, the company he founded in Mojave, Calif., has joined with Paul Allen in a plan to build the largest aircraft in the world. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, funded the SpaceShipOne effort that successfully boosted the first privately funded manned rocket outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

Now Allen’s new company, Stratolaunch Systems, will leverage similar technology to deliver payloads, including people, to Earth orbit. The system includes a six-engine carrier aircraft with a 380-plus-foot wingspan and more than 1.2 million-pound gross weight, which will haul aloft a multi-stage air-launchable booster, built by Space Exploration Technologies. 

Scaled Composites will build the carrier aircraft at a new facility at the Mojave Air and Space Port, and first flight is expected within five years. Huntsville, Ala.-based Dynetics is responsible for the mating and integration system.

At the Dubai Air Show in November, Rutan gave no hint that he had been planning the Stratolaunch effort, but did discuss his design of a personal ground-effect aircraft that he planned to operate in and around rivers and lakes near his new home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

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on December 16, 2011 - 3:30pm

I just want to know when Rutan will be offering the kit. I guess I need to start saving for the fiberglass cloth, resin, that sort of thing. And of course, looking around for a good deal on some used engines...

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Christopher Calder
on December 17, 2011 - 1:09pm

LENR jets will make Rutan's new bird work far better at a very low cost per payload in orbit.
A respected NASA scientist, Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, recently called low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) the "Singular solution to peak oil, climate change, fresh water, and associated geopolitical instabilities." Another top NASA scientist, Dennis Bushnell, agrees that LENR will revolutionize human transportation: from aircraft, to cargo ships, to automobiles, while providing incredibly inexpensive electricity for everyone. Current LENR reactors use nickel and hydrogen gas as fuel, and produce no radioactive or toxic waste. Fortunately, the Earth has enough nickel fuel to last for millions of years. LENR reactors can be made small enough to power a mechanical dragon fly, or large enough to electrify an entire city.
NASA’s LENR patent describes low energy laser induced nickel-hydrogen reactions, while engineer Andrea Rossi’s “Energy Catalyzer” (E-Cat) uses pressure, heat, and chemical catalysts . Both methods unleash Ultra Low Momentum Neutrons which are absorbed by the nuclei of nickel, thus creating copper. Rossi recently sold 13 one megawatt reactors to an agency of the US military. Defkalion Green Technologies, a competitor to Rossi, plans to start selling their much more efficient air conditioner sized Hyperion LENR reactors in 2012. Defkalion wants to replace large central power plants with small reactors consumers can safely install in their basements, gradually replacing the power grid with on-site electrical generation. This technology has already passed many tests by independent experts, and has gone far the beyond the realm of possible trickery. LENR is real, and it will change the world more than personal computers and the Internet.
LINKS to resources:
Zawodny-NASA pdf presentation:
Bushnell-NASA pdf presentation:
Nelson-NASA pdf presentation:
NASA-Zawodny LENR patent application:
Defkalion Green Technologies’ current line of LENR reactors -

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Steven B. Krivit
on December 18, 2011 - 7:44pm

LENR is certainly real, I have investigated and written about it for the last twelve years. Recently I gave an interview for the U.S. intelligence community on LENR.

The Rossi and Defkalion claims, however, are dubious.

One of Rossi's biggest supporters, Edmund Storms, thinks that Rossi faked it - but only once, if you believe that.

Beyond the trivial puffs of steam coming out of the device, many New Energy Times readers think Rossi's trick in his first design was obvious: he designed it to allow for unvaporized water to flow out the top of the E-Cat, down through the opaque hose and into the hidden wall drain. Therefore, our readers didn't even pay attention to Rossi's second design.

The videotape I shot of Rossi's device is very hard to argue with.

The scientific analysis in our subsequent 200-page report is very difficult to argue with as well.

Enthusiasm for LENR is entirely appropriate and we are about to enter a wild period in the LENR field. Wisdom and judiciousness by fans and investors will never be more crucial.

Steven B. Krivit
Senior Editor, New Energy Times
Editor-In-Chief, Wiley Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia

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