Hints point to military uses for Stratolaunch

Stratolaunch tour
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson chats with Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd (left) at the company’s hangar in Mojave, Calif. The twin-tailed airplane is behind them. (Heather Wilson via Twitter)

Stratolaunch, the six-year-old space venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it’ll use the world’s biggest airplane to launch small satellites into orbit – but what kind of satellites?

The company’s executives have always said the Pentagon could be a payload customer, but when Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited Stratolaunch’s super-hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on July 17, it threw a spotlight on how important military contracts could be.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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