Microsoft co-founder Developing Giant Space Plane

With NASA all but gone, someone has to take the torch and keep America at the forefront of space exploration. Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan, have eagerly accepted this challenge. They, like several other companies, are developing spacecraft to deliver cargo and astronauts to the ISS (International Space Station). Their design called for a plane with wings longer than a football field to haul a rocket into our atmosphere so that it would erase the need for a launch pad.

No launch pad means less cost, less junk and more space. The two have collaborated preciously when in 2004 they built the first privately financed, manned spacecraft to go into space. The SpaceShipOne, as they called it, later won $10 million and the Ansari X Prize for going into space…twice…in two weeks…wow. If their plans seem similar it is because Virgin Galactic was the one licensing the technology and developing the spacecraft with Allen and Rutan, even designing SpaceShipTwo to take tourists to space. The carrier aircraft, though, will use six 747 engines to orbit the Earth. The spaceship and booster are going to be provided by Elon Musk, creator of PayPal, who has also built a successful commercial rocket. Why does every Internet mogul have their own rocket?! And Paul Allen, who left Microsoft in 1983, owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers! Let’s just hope his spacecraft don’t fail as bad as some of his teams have…