Included the plane itself, patents and factories.
Vulcan began searching for a buyer for the Stratolaunch aircraft design that they wanted to use to launch rockets from the air. The cost of 400 million dollars includes the aircraft itself, as well as intellectual property and other assets. This was reported by CNBC, citing sources close to the deal.
In Stratolaunch told the publication that they continue to work, and promised to report on the news later. As reported by Reuters in early June, the company fired most of the employees and began a cessation of operations.
According to CNBC, the only thing that keeps Stratolaunch from selling is the conflict between CEO Gene Floyd and sister of the project’s founder Paul Allen Jody, who manages his property. Allen wants to sell the project, and the head of the company opposes.
Sources of the publication noted that billionaires Ilon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, each of whom has a company in the rocket and space industry, can claim the purchase of Stratolaunch. However, while Stratolaunch negotiated only with Branson, who refused to acquire the company for the full price and said that he would buy it for a dollar.
Stratolaunch was founded by Microsoft entrepreneur and co-founder Paul Allen, who died of cancer in October 2018. The company’s aircraft is considered the largest in the world: its wingspan is 117 meters, the landing gear consists of 28 wheels, and it requires six engines and two control cabs to fly.
In April 2019, Stratolaunch made the first successful flight after eight years of development. The device took off, flew over the Mojave Desert for two hours and landed.
According to Reuters sources, Allen’s sister, to which his assets were inherited, decided to sell the company back in 2018. She allowed the plane to make the first flight only in honor of her brother and as proof that the concept works.
Stratolaunch Systems entered into several partnerships and planned to launch rockets from the air. In theory, this would save on fuel to overcome gravity. The company contracted Orbital ATK to launch several Pegasus XL missiles and planned to build its own missiles.