The plane is a mix of old and new. Stratolaunch purchased two used Boeing 747 airplanes for many of their components. That includes their jet engines (six will later be installed on the plane, with the other two as spares), their landing gear, and even the cockpits. One cockpit is being installed in the right fuselage, with minor modifications, while the other is being used as a flight simulator.
Much of the rest of the airplane, though, is new construction, using carbon composite materials. “We tried to reuse as much of the Boeing 747 as we could,” Beames said, “but this is actually a very special aircraft by nature of its size.”
Beames hinted he is not fond of “Roc,” given that it sounds like “rock” and doesn’t sound like something that would fly. He suggested the plane might simply become known as “Stratolaunch” going forward, although that will require some significant internal rebranding: there were a lot of signs and stickers with the Roc name on equipment in the hangar, and on shirts of the employees building the plane.
I mean... it might not be a catastrophic failure waiting to happen.
This seems like a Spruce Goose kind of effort: One of those things that a rich nutball makes his pet project, to prove a point... just in time to be surpassed by other superior technologies.
I fully expect this thing to fly, launch a couple of systems, and then become a tourist attraction that people pay $15 to walk around out in the Mojave Desert.