The Air Launch Aerospace Corporation has been developing an air-launched space transportation system capable of placing a 4,000kg payload into LEO with a wide range of inclinations (0 to 115 degrees). Leading Russian and Ukrainian space developers and manufacturers, among which are V.P. Makeev State Rocket Center, TsKB-Progress, Kuznetsov Center, Myasishchev Design Bureau, Motorostroitel Corp., KBTM, Khimautomatiki Design Bureau, and Antonov Design Bureau, take part in the Project implementation. The Project designers' idea is as follows: a two-stage launch vehicle with upper-stage booster and payload housed within an Antonov An-124-100 AL Ruslan aircraft is flown to, and ejected over, a designated ocean or land area, and, after a 6 to 9 sec. free fall, the first stage is ignited.
The Air Launch System makes wide use of well-proven space technologies, which provide for innovative, flexible and profitable launch services.
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