Stratolaunch Systems Teams With Orbital Sciences

Stratolaunch Carrying A Falcon Rocket from SpaceX
Image Credit: Stratolaunch

Previously, NSSPhoenix reported in December 2011 on the new Stratolaunch design for air launched orbital satellite services. Stratolaunch is the brainchild of billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Allen enlisted Scaled Composites from Mojave, California to build the twin boom mothership, pictured above. The 222,000-kilogram airplane with a 117-meter wingspan would be capable of flying 2,400 kilometers before deploying a rocket capable of delivering 2,300 kilograms to geosynchronous orbit. Space Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) agreed to study the feasibility of turning their Falcon 9 rocket into an air-launched system. Dynetics Corp. of Huntsville, Alabama was chosen to build the mating and integration system.

Allen, the author of the SpaceShipOne project that won the Ansari X-Prize for two consecutive sub-orbital flights of 100 kilometers within two weeks in 2004, said that he expected to spend “at least an order of magnitude more” on Stratolaunch than he spent on SpaceShipOne.

In late November, SpaceX and Stratolaunch parted ways, agreeing that the effort to retool the SpaceX assembly line into one capable of building a four or five engine Falcon with the associated structural and engineering changes, was too great a change to the SpaceX business model in return for the financial possibilities.

Subsequently, Stratolaunch approached Orbital Sciences, a company with a long history of air launched orbital missions dating back to 1990. Orbital has agreed to study providing the launch vehicle for Stratolaunch. Currently, Orbital’s Pegasus system can put 450 kilograms of satellite into low-Earth orbit. But there has been only a single launch in the past four years, and the only remaining manifest is for a 2013 launch of NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph space telescope.

Orbital is currently working on their Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) Antares rocket, which relies on a liquid fueled first stage powered by Ukrainian built rocket engines, to fulfill a contract with NASA to resupply the International Space Station (ISS).

Stratolaunch has been engaged with Orbital for several months and have contracted with Orbital to evaluate configurations of Orbital systems capable of satisfying Stratolaunch requirements.

NSS Chapters Committee

NSS Chapters Committee

About the Chapters Committee

  • This committee is charged with the responsibility of fostering productive relations between chapters and between chapters and the National Space Society at large. The committee monitors programs for and of chapters and makes recommendations on projects and programs to serve the mutual interests of NSS and its chapters.
  • The Chapters’ Assembly will report to the NSS Board through the Chapters Committee.
  • This committee shall be comprised of board members who volunteer their services to the committee, regional board members, and appointed members from the chapters’ community who are willing to serve in established committee posts established to conduct the business of the committee. Appointments are subject to the approval of the NSS Executive Committee.
  • The Chair of this committee is the NSS Vice President of Chapters.

We are currently operating under the 2001 Chapters Committee Bylaws.Committee Members

As of November 16, 2006 the NSS Vice President of Chapters is Candace Pankanin and the following committee officers have been appointed:

The general membership of the committee also includes the following individuals:

Jim Spellman, Bryce Walden, Claire McMurray, George Howard, Harry Reed, Elaine Walker, Craig Ward, John Strickland, Bill Higgins, Mike Fulda, Don Doughty, Mark Hopkins, Greg Allison and Bruce Mackenzie,  Fred Becker, Peter Kokh

For additional information about the Chapters Committee, please contact Candace Pankanin 

NSS 2008 Space Settlement Calendar

Buy the 2008 Space Settlement Calendar Now

The National Space Society is proud to present the Space Settlement 2008 Calendar. This amazing, 14×11-inch, full-color wall calendar features twelve original works of art illustrating humanity’s future in space.

Also featured throughout the calendar are dates for major 2008 space conferences and events. Also included are key dates in space history and U.S. and major international holidays.

The National Space Society undertook this project as a means of promoting awareness of the benefits to humanity of a spacefaring civilization and to make people aware that they can play a role in creating this future.

Show your support for human space exploration and the National Space Society by ordering your copies of the Space Settlement 2008 Calendar today for only $14.95 each! The National Space Society receives a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this calendar.

Buy the 2008 Space Settlement Calendar Now

Help with promotion. You can further help the National Space Society promote the 2008 Space Settlement Calendar by adding the following graphic to your web site or blog:

To do so, just add the HTML code in this box to your web page (the graphic is included in the code):

<a href="
calendar/buy.htm"> <img src="
calendar/calendarad.jpg" width="165" height="125" 
alt="2008 Space Settlement Calendar" /></a>

A future with space settlement is vastly better than one without it!

X PRIZE Announcement: Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award registration open

Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award Registration OpenThis is an announcement to all those who know high school aged students. The Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award registration is now open. This award is for students age 13 to 18. Within the next two months, student teams must develop their own innovative concept to benefit the personal spaceflight industry in 50 year’s timeframe. Teams will compile their concept into three documents: a technical document, a business/marketing document, and a graphical representation. Finalists will be brought to the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup to display their concept to the public. Awards include $9000 in prize money, travel grants to attend the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup, inclusion on a national traveling museum exhibit, rocket trophies, and the unique opportunity to connect students directly with commercial companies in the personal spaceflight industry.

Please pass on this information to anyone who may know interested students. Further details are listed on our website under the “conrad award” section. You can also see the attached press release for more information.



Scaled has announced information on a fund for those who wish to support the
families of the deceased as well as the injured and their families.

The National Space Society urges all of its members and the broader space
community to give generously to support these heroes.


Please send contributions to:
Scaled Family Support Fund
c/o Scaled Composites
1624 Flight Line
Mojave, CA. 93501

Acct # 04157-66832

Wire transfer ABA Routing #1220-0066-1

Please make checks payable to the account
number or to the name of the fund.


NSS Statement on Accident at Scaled Composites:

America was built on the courage of those who dared to explore new
frontiers.  From Lewis and Clark to the Apollo astronauts, great men and
women have tested themselves against the frontiers of their age.

In the course of their efforts, these heroes may pay the ultimate cost, as
they did yesterday in Mojave.  When that happens, it
is the highest duty of all of us to care for the injured, to mourn the
departed, and to care for the families.  An honest investigation must be
conducted to learn what went wrong, and to fix the cause so that it does not
happen again.

But when the investigation finished, our duty is to carry on the work of
those heroes, to redouble our efforts to scale the peaks that they were
climbing.  That is what we learned from Apollo 1.  That is what they would

The frontier of space is far from tamed.  The men and women of Scaled
Composites are engaged in one of the great efforts of our
time: opening space for all humanity.  That is a noble pursuit, perhaps the
most noble of all, and we must all be thankful for their work, and for their

Let us not shirk from what happened yesterday.  Professionals will find the
cause.  The program will continue.  The effort to open space cannot be
stopped.  Now is the time to honor those men by honoring the cause that they
were engaged in.  Those of us who are part of this great endeavor, whether
as participants or as supporters, let us carry forward this message of
perseverance to our own communities, to our elected leaders and to the
media.  Now more than ever, the nation needs to hear your voices.

What is your vision for space? Have your say!

We are running a survey to find out what is the youth visions for the next 50 years of space. The results will be presented by two Space Generation representatives at a planning workshop including prominent individuals such as Freeman Dyson, Elon Musk and Dr Harrison Schmitt. The workshop will be held in conjunction with a conference titled, “The Future of Space Exploration: Solutions to Earthly Problems?”, taking place on April 12-14 2007.

The input sought at this time are key events and timing that are thought to be important for space activities over the next 50 years. We hope to capture the input in a publication tentatively titled: “Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Next Generation’s 50-Year Vision for Space”.

To provide your input, please visit

This survey is organised by SGAC, in partnership with the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, the Boston University Center for Space Physics, and the Secure World Foundation.

Welcome to the National Space Society of Phoenix

The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, educational, grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded as the National Space Institute (1974) and L5 Society (1975), which merged to form NSS in 1987, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen’s voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space.

For US tax purposes, NSS is a tax exempt 501(c)3 educational nonprofit corporation; donations are tax deductible.

For more details on what NSS stands for, see our Statement of Philosophy:

  • NSS Vision: “People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth.”
  • NSS Mission: “To promote social, economic, technological, and political change, to advance the day when humans will live and work in space.”
  • NSS Rationale – Why Our Mission is Important: Survival, Growth, Prosperity, and Curiosity
  • NSS Principles – What Does NSS Stand For?
  • NSS Beliefs – What Does NSS Support?
  • Barriers to Space Settlement