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Fri, Jan 27, 2012

Stratolaunch Systems Breaks Ground In CA

Smaller Of Two Hangars Going Up In Mohave Desert

Construction is now underway on an 88,000 sq. ft. hangar in the Mohave Desert which will house the factory which builds the latest collaboration between aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Their new company, Stratolaunch Systems, Inc., is based in Huntsville, Alabama, but construction and testing of the six-engine mothership inspired by Rutan's earlier White Knight will happen in the California desert.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Gary Wentz, Stratolaunch's CEO, commented at last week's groundbreaking, "Today marks the start of an exciting journey for us. Over the next year, we will have a visible presence in the Antelope Valley with two new facilities and a pair of 747-400 aircraft which will undergo salvage to supply parts and subsystems for integration into our carrier aircraft."

The plane will be the largest ever to fly, with a wingspan of 385 feet. The partners have previously said they will use engines, avionics, flight deck, landing gear and other systems recycled from retired Boeing 747s to reduce development costs.

The hangar now under construction will actually be the smaller of at least two to be built at Mohave. The next one will enclose 94,000 sq. ft., and allow wing-to-fuselage assembly, as well as providing office space.



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