WASHINGTON — Stratolaunch, the company founded by the late billionaire Paul Allen, said Jan. 18 that it is ending work on a launch vehicle that would be flown on the company’s giant aircraft.
In a statement to SpaceNews, a company spokesman said that the company was ending work on its own family of launch vehicles and would instead use its aircraft for launching small Pegasus XL rockets from Northrop Grumman. News of the change in plans was first reported by GeekWire.
“Stratolaunch is ending the development of their family of launch vehicles and rocket engine,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement. “We are streamlining operations, focusing on the aircraft and our ability to support a demonstration launch of the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL air-launch vehicle.”
Stratolaunch made no mention of layoffs in its statement, but sources familiar with the company said they expected up to several dozen people to lose their jobs with the termination of the company’s vehicle development effort.
Stratolaunch is best known for its development of a giant aircraft that will be the largest in the world by wingspan. The twin-fuselage plane, with six jet engines, has carried out a series of taxi tests at the ...