This is not a fantasy project. This is going to be real: a gigantic 385-foot wing span, 544-tonne plane powered by six 747 engines that will serve as a flying launch platform for 490,000 pound orbital rockets.It’s the new project of Paul Allen and Burt Rutan. And it looks insanely amazing.
Back when I was in college and had dreams of being a writer one day (huh… amazing how that dream hasn’t changed much…) I wrote a short story about a launch system similar to this. In my story though I used a “skyhook” which is essentially an orbiting satellite with carbon fiber “legs” which orbits and rotates such that the legs dip down into the atmosphere and latch onto high-flying jet powered spaceships which are then launched into high orbit by the skyhook. The energy is regained by using the same skyhook to deliver refined metals mined from asteroids or the moon to the earth. It’s a great idea.