New Giant Plane To Launch People, Cargo Onto Orbit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New Giant Plane To Launch People, Cargo Into Orbit

SEATTLE (AP) - Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan say they are building a giant airplane and spaceship to zip people and cargo into orbit.

Their plane will have a wingspan longer than a football field. It will carry a space capsule with its own booster rocket high into the air. Then the plane will launch the spaceship, which will rocket to orbit. This method saves money by not using rocket fuel to get off the ground. The first test is scheduled for 2016.

The duo won a prize in 2004 with a private spaceship that went into space, but not orbit. They announced their plans on Tuesday.

The spaceship and booster will be provided by another Internet tycoon, Elon Musk of PayPal, who has built a successful commercial rocket.

      
      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)
   

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