Paul Allen Launches 'Vulcan Aerospace' to Enhance Space Travel
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With the help of fast-improving technology, space tourism appears on the verge of evolving from an ambitious concept to a legitimate industry. Recently, the involvement of renowned entrepreneurs and businessmen like Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson and now Paul Allen has propelled it to the forefront.
This week, Allen, a billionaire investor and innovator famous for co-founding Microsoft with Bill Gates, introduced Vulcan Aerospace at the 31st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Through his latest venture, Allen hopes to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of spaceflight in an effort to further develop space transporation and exploration.
A company within Vulcan Inc., which was founded by Allen and his sister Jody three decades ago, Vulcan Aerospace will focus on the planning and execution of projects aimed at shifting "how the world conceptualizes space travel through cost reduction and on-demand access," according to a presentation outline authored by Charles Beames and Kyu J. Hwang.
Inspired by SpaceShipOne, which completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004, Vulcan Aerospace will be tasked with managing Stratolaunch Systems, a commercial space program launched four years ago.
"Stratolaunch's ability to launch from variable locations will enable satellites and humans to be efficiently inserted into their most optimal orbit at a time of the customer's choosing," write Beames and Hwang, who note that "launching far away from populated areas (i.e. middle of the ocean) also significantly reduces public safety risk."
Currently, assembly on the Stratolaunch aircraft is 40 percent complete, with fabrication 80 percent finished. As a result, an initial test flight is expected sometime next year.
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