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Less than two months ago, Stratolaunch took to the skies in its first complete test flight. Now, Reuters is reporting that the ambitious project, founded by late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, is shutting down.
Vulcan Inc, the investment firm that owns the Stratolaunch project, is reportedly looking to sell off Stratolaunch’s “assets and intellectual property” according to five sources cited by Reuters.
The publication also notes that a number of key employees had relocated to other firms, including Amazon’s Blue Origin and microsatellite firm Sierra Nevada Corporation.
The Stratolaunch project was an ambitious step into the new space race. The bird itself was set to be used as a mid-air platform for launching rockets and payloads into space. The fact that these projectiles would be launched from 30 000 feet above sea level meant a more efficient route into space.
The project was supposed to be ready to launch its first payload in 2022 from a 117-metre wingspan plane built from a number of parts found on the Boeing 747.
Stratolaunch declined to comment on the report.
Feature image: Stratolaunch