Stratolaunch Systems, the private space company founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it is suspending the development of a new group of rockets and is reported to be firing "more than 50 people" after Allen's death last October. .
The company said GeekWire which is "ending with the development of its family of launch vehicles and rocket engines", to focus on its flagship aircraft, which is expected to take its first flight this year. That's a change of the company, which announced plans for the rockets last summer.
Allen co-founded the company in 2011 to develop a mbadive aircraft that would transport a rocket to a height of 35,000 feet, where it would then launch into orbit. Stratolaunch unveiled its aircraft in 2017, and with a wingspan of 385 feet, it is the largest aircraft in the world. The vehicle has been in tests since then, and it is expected that its first flight will take place this year. The company has already established a customer for its services: Orbital ATK signed an agreement to launch its Pegasus XL rocket from the plane.
That plane was clearly the first step in an ambitious roadmap for the company. He had started the development of his "Medium launch vehicle", which he planned to fly in 2022, with a larger version and a reusable space plane called "Black Ice". But with Allen's death in October, it seems the company is holding back plans to focus on getting its plane off the ground this year. We contact Stratolaunch Systems for more comments and will update this publication if we return it.