オービタル・サイエンシズ、ストラトローンチ・システムズの空中発射用ロケット開発へ

マイクロソフトの共同創業者ポール・アレン氏が出資するストラトローンチ・システムズの空中発射用ロケットは当初スペースXが開発する予定でした。しかし、昨年スペースXはこの計画から降りることを決断します。理由はスペースXが得意とする垂直打ち上げのロケットと空中発射用ロケットの構造などが実際はかなり異なるため、スペースXとしては垂直打上げの形式に集中したいという意向があったようです。

その後、スペースXの後を引き継いだのがオービタル・サイエンシズです。

Orbital Tapped To Build Stratolaunch Rocket

オービタル・サイエンシズは同じ空中発射ロケットの「ペガサスロケット」の開発実績があり、スペースXよりも適任に思えます。

デモフライト予定は2018年とのこと。
楽しみです。

Stratolaunch Systems

以下はストラトローンチ・システムズのプレスリリース。

STRATOLAUNCH ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH ORBITAL SCIENCES TO DESIGN, ASSEMBLE, INTEGRATE AND TEST THE AIR LAUNCH VEHICLE

HUNTSVILLE, AL, June 3, 2013- Space technology leader Orbital Sciences Corporation has joined Stratolaunch Systems team to design, build, and operate Stratolaunch’s redesigned air launch rocket system. Orbital’s involvement is key in realizing Stratolaunch System’s vision to provide orbital access with greater safety, cost effectiveness and flexibility. The agreement was finalized after a nine-month research period in which Stratolaunch charged Orbital with developing a comprehensive operational concept for its air-launch system, including the unique design of the rocket and operational processes and procedures that will need to be in place to operate the system. Going forward, Orbital will be responsible for the program’s overall systems engineering, as well as the development, production, integration, test, and operations of the air launch vehicle and related support systems.

Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military, and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-earth orbit, geosynchronous earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-related space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles.

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