3. Will it? They can't fly it as experimental and get some concessions there?
True, the aircraft may be considered experimental for a while, although it still will have to show some level of safety and testing -- I don't know enough about FAA regulations to determine if it could operate indefinitely as an experimental aircraft providing regular launch services...but as I suggested -- I don't think it will ever get to that point.
I'm betting against you. There are some very smart people working on this thing. And they have money. The same kind of things were said about SpaceX as well. "Landing a booster on a ship in the Atlantic ocean? Yeah right". They were proven wrong, and so will you. Scaled Composites are the builders of this thing, they know very well what they're doing. Same thing can be said about Orbital ATK who obviously believe in them. It will fly.
Elon Musk's reason for using reusable boosters is that SpaceX's ultimate goal is to colonize Mars. What they're doing now is basically the very baby steps. They're learning rocketry as they go. Airplanes can't land on Mars or other planets because of extremely thin atmosphere, so the technology is basically useless for SpaceX's mission.
Well cheers!! Thank-you for taking me up on that bet
Long odds, I still think, especially for Paul Allen and his Microsoft money he's betting -- they still don't have an actual booster rocket to hang from this behemoth aircraft...http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/05/04/ ... ns-mystery
...it actually was going to be Elon Musk and SpaceX providing the rocket for Stratolaunch, but SpaceX backed out a few years ago -- I don't blame them. Scaled Composites is great, I agree, and I am not knocking them when I point out that it was a smaller air launched Virgin Galactic ship by Scaled Composites that crashed, killing a pilot a few years ago and Scaled-Composites does not build orbital boosters. It's just that I think this air-launched concept has been proposed so many times for satellites, ICBM's, etc, but has never panned out except for small scale projects like Pegasus or sub-orbitals like SpaceShipOne or X-15. SpaceX landing the first stage is what may actually economically kill competitors like Stratolaunch
So, we will wait to see how the dice roll on our bets!! Will be interesting to watch.