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Stratolaunch’s rocket preburner hits full power

Stratolaunch preburner test
The preburner for Stratolaunch’s PGA rocket engine blazes during a hot-fire test. (Stratolaunch via Twitter)

Chalk up another milestone for Stratolaunch Systems’ rocket engine development effort: The Seattle-based space company founded by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says it ramped up the preburner for its PGA rocket engine to full power this week during hot-fire tests.

Stratolaunch’s 3D-printed preburner, a key component that typically begins a rocket engine’s combustion process, had its first hot firing less than a month ago at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. And just a year ago, the hardware was merely a twinkle in the eye of Stratolaunch’s engineers.

“Per public records, this is the fastest preburner development in U.S. history,” Hanna Steplewska Kubiak, Stratolaunch’s vice president of business development,  tweeted.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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