Paul Allen stands on the wing of the giant Stratolaunch plane during a March 2017 tour of the hangar in Mojave, Calif., where the craft was being assembled. The plane’s tail is in the background. (Paul Allen via Twitter)
Seattle billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen’s death comes just as his Stratolaunch space venture is counting down to the first flight of the world’s biggest airplane — and lifting the veil on a wide range of space applications.
Now it’s up to the Stratolaunch team to make good on the high-flyingest idea from the self-described “Idea Man,” who succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 65.
Heading that team is President and CEO Jean Floyd, who spent decades as a manager and executive at Orbital Sciences Corp. (now part of Northrop Grumman) before joining the venture in 2015.
Like many of the other executives in Allen’s wide-ranging operation, Floyd confined his comments about his boss’ death to a Twitter tribute: “We deeply respect and admire Mr. Allen’s vision. His legacy will be honored,” Floyd wrote.
Just a week earlier, Floyd was tweeting about a happier subject: a revved-up series of taxi tests that sent Stratolaunch’s 385-foot-wide, twin-fuselage plane down Mojave’s runway ...