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Microsoft co-founder creating commercial space travel business

Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire has new plans to create a business for commercial space travel. It should take around five years to develop.

The US government are cutting back on space flight, so Allen has sensed a gap in the market for investment.

Yesterday he showcased designs for a new craft which will eventually be able to take human passengers into orbit. This is not the first time Paul Allen has funded spaceflight, as he was behind SpaceShipOne, which was the first manned private journey.

Stratolaunch System are building the new craft – the new company founded by Paul Allen. Burt Rutan is going to be helping with the project, one of the original aerospace engineers who was involved in the development of SpaceShipOne.

Paul Allen spoke at a press event in Seattle and said “I have long dreamed about taking the next big step in private space flight after the success of SpaceShipOne – to offer a flexible, orbital space delivery system.”

The new craft is staggeringly big, with a wingspan of 385 feet. It will use six Boeing 747 engines and can fly 1,300 miles before needing refuelled. According to reports, the runway will need to be 12,000 feet long to allow it to successfully build up enough speed for takeoff.

Kitguru says: A goliath craft which could shape the future. If anyone can afford to fund this, it would be Paul Allen. If he runs out of money he can always call on his good friend Bill Gates.

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