Stratolaunch: With the largest aircraft in the world in bankruptcy

Stratolaunch: With the largest aircraft in the world in bankruptcy

The space company Stratolaunch has been struggling with problems for some time. The extremely ambitious future plans of the startup have therefore already been clearly cut back. So it was decided not to continue working on the development of a new rocket engine. From the planned family of space launch missile systems, initially only the giant Roc aircraft with a wingspan of 117 meters remained. At the same time, the number of employees has been massively reduced: from more than seventy to only around 20 people. Nevertheless, the largest aircraft in the world – measured by the wingspan – was able to successfully fly the maiden flight in April . But now the project threatens the final out: As the news agency Reuters reported , the company is the operational operation.

The sister of the founder draws a line

The startup was founded in 2011 by Paul Allen. He had earned a fortune as a co-founder of Microsoft and dreamed of revolutionizing space exploration. That's why he invested not insignificant sums in Stratolaunch through his investment company Vulcan. But in October last year, the billionaire died of cancer. His sister was therefore given the task of deciding whether the expensive hobby should be pursued. She chose a kind of dual strategy. On the one hand, the maiden flight of the giant aircraft was further prepared. This was done in memory of Paul Allen and to prove the basic operation of the concept. At the same time, however, it was also clear that after the successful first flight, new sources of funding had to be opened up.

Richard Branson is already pursuing similar plans

So far, however, no buyer has found for the entire company. This may also be related to the fact that numerous coveted employees have already migrated to rival companies. Therefore, it is now trying to sell at least some values. For example, the giant plane Roc could find a buyer. The same applies to certain patents and rights. But it is also clear that the money put into the company can not be fully recovered. The idea of launching rockets already in the air should continue to live on. Because the company founded by Richard Branson Virgin Galactic pursues a similar approach. The engineers there have simply rebuilt a Boeing 747 and not developed a completely new aircraft.

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