Stratolaunch unveils new rocket lineup

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The makers of the world's largest plane have recently unveiled exactly how it plans to deploy satellites into orbit.

According to a Stratolaunch Systems press release, its planned lineup of launch vehicles includes the Pegasus rocket, two medium-lift rockets, and a space plane.

The small-payload Pegasus XL has a 370-kilogram capacity for either single or triple configuration.

The Medium Launch Vehicle, or MLV, has a capacity of 3,400 kilograms. A three-core variant called the MLV-Heavy is being developed to carry nearly twice as much.

The reusable space plane, codenamed 'Black Ice', is presently just a design study. It's meant to carry cargo to and from Earth, though a follow-on variant will be crew-capable.

Rather than blasting off a launchpad, the rockets will be tethered to a massive twin-fuselage carrier, which boasts a wingspan of 385 feet. Once the plane gets to an altitude of 35,000 feet, the rockets drop and blast off into orbit.

So far, the main aircraft carrier has done a taxi test, but has yet to go up in the air. It will also need to be tested and fitted for the rockets.

Assuming everything goes smoothly for Stratolaunch, the first Pegasus rocket is set to launch by 2020, followed by the MLV in 2022.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Depiction of Stratolaunch rocket lineup
2. Depiction of Pegasus XL
3. Depiction of MLV and MLV-H
4. Depiction of reusable space plane
5. Depiction of rocket tethered to plane belly
6.Depiction of rocket dropped at 35,000 feet


VOICEOVER (in English):

"Stratolaunch's planned lineup of launch vehicles includes the Pegasus rocket, two medium-lift rockets, and a space plane."

"The small-payload Pegasus XL has a 370-kilogram capacity for either single or triple configuration."

"The Medium Launch Vehicle, or MLV, has a capacity of 3,400 kilograms. A three-core variant called the MLV-Heavy is being developed to carry nearly twice as much."

"The reusable space plane, codenamed 'Black Ice', is presently just a design study. It's meant to carry cargo to and from Earth, though a follow-on variant will be crew-capable."


SOURCES:
Stratolaunch, Space
https://www.stratolaunch.com/2018/08/20/stratolaunch-announces-new-launch-vehicles/
https://www.space.com/41548-stratolaunch-rocket-family-space-plane-revealed.html