Sizing up composites

Everyone knows that composites are core materials in some pretty big aerospace projects, such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380, for example.  However, news last week suggests that size knows no boundaries when it comes to composites application.  Northrop Grumman has expanded its commercial space portfolio with Stratolaunch Systems’ recent selection of Scaled Composites, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, to build the largest aircraft ever constructed.

According to Northrop, with a gross take-off weight of more than 545 tonnes, the carrier aircraft will have a wingspan of 117 metres and take-off and land from a runway that is at least 3.6 km long. It will also deploy no less than six 747 engines. It is anticipated that the development work will take place in Mojave, California.

Scaled Composites is developing an air-launch system for Stratolaunch Systems, which is a Paul G Allen project that it claims will revolutionize space transportation by providing orbital access to space at lower costs, with greater safety and increased flexibility.

What are your thoughts… it seems just about anything is possible with composites.

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