A Very Large and Unusual Aircraft

The Scaled Composites Model 351 Stratolaunch is an aircraft built for Stratolaunch Systems by Scaled Composites to carry air-launch-to-orbit rockets. It was announced in December 2011 and rolled out in May 2017. The aircraft features a twin-fuselage design and the longest wingspan ever flown, at 385 feet (117 m), surpassing the Hughes H-4 Hercules flying boat of 321 feet (98 m). The Stratolaunch is intended to carry a 550,000-pound (250 t) payload and has a 1,300,000-pound (590 t) maximum takeoff weight. It should release its rocket at 35,000 ft (11,000 m).

The aircraft flew for the first and so far only time on April 13, 2019, and shortly thereafter, the company announced it would halt development of its air-launched family of launch vehicles following the death of Stratolaunch founder Paul Allen in October 2018. The company ceased operations the next month, and placed all company assets, including the aircraft, for sale for US$400 million by June 2019. Cerberus Capital Management acquired Stratolaunch Systems including the Stratolaunch aircraft in October 2019. Stratolaunch announced in December 2019 that it would now be focusing on offering high-speed flight test services.

Stratolaunch has a twin-fuselage configuration, each 238 ft (73 m) long and supported by 12 main landing gear wheels and two nose gear wheels, for a total of 28 wheels. The twin-fuselage configuration is similar to the Scaled Composites White Knight Two. Each fuselage has its own empennage.

The pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer are accommodated in the right fuselage cockpit.[2] The flight data systems are in the left fuselage. The left fuselage cockpit is unmanned with storage space for up to 2,500lb of mission specific support equipment. Both fuselage cockpits are pressurized and separated by a composite pressure bulkhead from the remainder of the unpressurized vehicle.

At 385 ft (117 m), it is the largest plane by wingspan, greater than a 300 ft (91 m) American football field. The main center section is made up of four primary composite spars supported by four secondary spars. The center section of the high-mounted, high aspect ratio wing is fitted with a Mating and Integration System (MIS), developed by Dynetics and capable of handling a 490,000 lb (220 t) load. The wing houses six main and two auxiliary fuel tanks, with the main tanks located inboard adjacent to an engine. The auxiliary tanks are located in the inboard wing where the load-carrying structure joins the fuselage.

Stratolaunch is powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 engines positioned on pylons outboard of each fuselage, providing 56,750 lbf (252.4 kN) of thrust per engine. Many of the aircraft systems have been adopted from the Boeing 747-400, including the engines, avionics, flight deck, landing gear and other systems, reducing development costs.

It will require 12,000 ft (3,700 m) of runway to lift-off. It should release its rocket at 35,000 ft (11,000 m). It will carry a 550,000 lb (250 t) payload.[8] With a Pegasus II, it could deliver up to 13,500 lb (6.1 t) satellites to LEO or 4,500 lb (2.0 t) to a 15° GTO. It could launch a Dream Chaser small spaceplane capable of transporting astronauts or payloads within 24 hours. The stated goal is to carry up to three Orbital ATK “Pegasus XL” rockets for high-altitude launches by 2022.


He saved his sister from a German shepherd dog & said “If anyone has to die, it’s me as big brother”

Little red riding hood and the big bad wolf

Italy from space.


If only you knew the power of the bark side…

Nepalese climbers removed 2.2 tons of trash from Everest while the tourists were away.

The Colored Palace in Yemen (Bugshan Palace).

Unfortunately not this time.

Chill cat enjoying the view at dawn | Santorini, Greece

Bed bugs

Saltwater crocodile riding the surf in Australia, anybody for a swim?

These Celebrity Tombstones Are Both Clever And Impactful At The Same Time

No matter how famous you are in life, we all end up in the ground. In a cemetery, every person is simply a headstone. How you stand out amidst the sea of death? These famous people knew the answer: create a clever epitaph.

Those who referenced their movies and songs or carved jokes into their tombstones will still be remembered decades from now. Here are the wittiest and hilarious celebrity tombstones.

Mel Blanc Used One Of His Thousand Voices

Mel Blanc earned the nickname The Man of a Thousand Voices for a reason. He has voiced memorable cartoon characters including Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Marvin the Martian, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, the Tasmanian Devil, and Porky Pig.

The original voice of “Bugs Bunny,” “Daffy Duck,” “Porky Pig,” and hundreds of other cartoon characters, Mel Blanc, 1908-1989, is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The line he made famous “That’s all folks” is inscribed on his tombstone. The historic Hollywood Forever Cemetery is where many of Hollywood’s major talent and players are buried. (Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)

Doc Holliday, The Most Famous Old West Shooter

Doc Holliday is one of the most recognizable Old West outlaws. During his life, he was nationally famous for being a trigger-happy gunman, even though he only got into one or two gunfights. Today, Western film makers still use Holliday as inspiration for their plots and characters.

So how did he die? In the midst of blazing gunfire? According to his tombstone, “He died in bed.” Yeah, Holliday died from tuberculosis, not a gun wound.

Merv Griffin Will Not Be Back

Merv Griffin was an American radio host, band singer, Broadway actor, and television host. Most people know him for creating the game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! which still run today. He also hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show.

It is always good to have a sense of humor. This tombstone shows that some carry that great attitude on for eternity. Photo taken in the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park, Westwood, California.

Leslie Nielson Makes Fart Jokes Even In Death

Leslie Nielson was a Canadian actor and comedian. His most famous works include Airplane!The Naked Gun series, and the Police Squad! TV show. Those who knew him say he was a practical jokester who often pranked people with his hand-controlled fart machine.

In 2010, Nielson died in his sleep after a battle with pneumonia. His body lies in Fort Lauderdale’s Evergreen Cemetery. As a final joke, he wrote “Let ‘er rip” as his epitaph.

Dee Dee Ramone’s Gotta Go

Douglas Glenn Colvin founded the punk rock band the Ramones. He was also the band’s more prolific writer, although he played the base instead of sang. After the band, he embarked on a short-lived career as a hip hop singer, Dee Dee Ramone.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 03: Atmosphere shot of the gravesite statue of Ramones’ bassist Dee Dee Ramone at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, site of the Fifth Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute on October 3, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

In 2002, Ramone died of a heroin overdose. He was buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery near his bandmate, Johnny Ramone. His epitaph simply says, “O.K…I gotta go now,” proving that he was witty until the end.

Frank Sinatra Promoted His Songs Even In Death

Even those who aren’t a fan of jazz have at least heard about Frank Sinatra. As one of the best-selling music artists of all time, he won the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and eleven Grammy Awards.

CATHEDRAL CITY, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 26, 2019: The simple tombstone and grave of singer Frank Sinatra is at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California, near Palm Springs. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Sinatra died next to his wife in 1998 after a heart attack. His tombstone in Desert Memorial Park references one of his songs: “The Best Is Yet To Come.” After he died, sales for this album skyrocketed.

John Wayne Didn’t Get What He Wanted

John Wayne is one of the most famous Western movie stars of all time. He was a top office draw for three decades and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. His gravestone, in Pacific View Memorial Park Cemetery, is solemn. But it wasn’t what Wayne initially wanted.

Neb03:John Wayne Grave:Newport Beach,California,24Jan00 – Actor John Wayne’s Gravestone In Newport Beach, California, January 24, 2000. (Photo By David Mcnew/Getty Images)

According to his son, Wayne wanted his tombstone to read “Feo, Fuerte y Formal,” which translates to “Ugly, Strong, and Dignified.” Despite his request, others chose a quote that came from his 1971 interview with Playboy.

Johnny Cash Walks The Line

Even today, country music fans around the world celebrate Johnny Cash’s work. Even those who dislike country star have at least heard songs like “Ring of Fire,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Get Rhythm,” and “Walk the Line.”

In 2003, Cash died of diabetes complications. He was buried near his Tennessee hometown in Hendersonville Memory Gardens next to his wife. His tombstone appropriately says, “I Walk The Line.” His wife, June Carter, placed the name of her final album on her grave: “Wildwood Flower.”

Jim Morrison’s Grave Is Totally Defaced

The lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison passed away at the age of 27 in Paris. He was buried in Division 6 in Père Lachaise cemetery on July 7, 1971. His grave didn’t have a headstone until ten years after his death. Then, it was stolen.

Image #: 2738353 The headstone and grave of legendary Doors singer Jim Morrison at the Paris cemetary Pere Lachaise is shown on November 30, 1989. dpa /Landov

Fans from around the world visit his gravesite and often deface it. Fans also add “love locks” which are padlocks that have two peoples’ names on them, locked to a fence or gate as a symbol that they’ll be together forever.

Fans Leave Campbell’s Soup For Andy Warhol

Pop art legend Andy Warhol is buried in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. In 1985, Warhol said, “I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment.’”

That’s not what ended up happening, however. He was buried alongside his parents and the Andy Warhol Museum streams live video of his gravesite on its website so fans can see it whenever they please!

Leia on the Beach in the Gold Bikini


In 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia, played by then-27-year-old Carrie Fisher, is taken prisoner by Jabba the Hutt, made his slave and forced to wear a gold bikini.

So when Rolling Stone ran an article on Fisher and the film, a beach was the obvious place to showcase both the cast and Fisher’s interstellar swimwear (we’re guessing).

At California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the shoot featured Fisher together with Leia’s dad (Darth Vader), plus an Ewok and a Gamorrean Guard. And a beatbox.

According to the bikini’s Wikipedia page (yes, that’s correct), Fisher’s breasts had to be taped into place to prevent them from escaping her costume.

Thirty years later, Fisher has returned as General Leia Organa in The Force Awakens. During the run up to the new film’s release, Fisher was asked whether she still had the bikini. “I wear it on special occasions. I’ve got it on underneath now. I wear it always, for luck.”

The Wall Street Journal also asked Fisher for her take on rumors that Disney will no longer market or sell “Leia as slave” merchandise. “I think it’s stupid,” she replied. “The father who flipped out about it, ‘What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?’ Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.”







Scientists Solve Mystery of Rabbit Breed’s Bizarre Walk

Genetic researchers have reportedly solved a longstanding mystery surrounding a strange breed of rabbit that walks on its two front feet rather than hopping. The curious creatures, which were first found in France back in the 1930s, are a domesticated species known as ‘sauteur d’Alfort.’ For reasons heretofore unknown, the bunnies are unable to jump and, instead, employ a bizarre method of locomotion wherein they lift themselves up on their front feet and walk. As one might imagine, their odd gait has puzzled scientists for nearly a century, but a new study appears to have determined the cause of their unique way of moving.

In a newly published paper, genetic researchers Miguel Carneiro and Leif Andersson explained how they bred a sauteur d’Alfort with a more traditional New Zealand white rabbit. The resulting slew of offspring, comprised of 52 in total, allowed them to pinpoint a specific genetic mutation that causes a malfunction in the muscle coordination of the creature and prevents it from being able to jump. Faced with that obstacle, the sauteur d’Alfort in turn naturally adopts the unorthodox style of walking as a means of compensating for its otherwise hindered mobility. By solving this mystery, the researchers were also able to, for the first time, identify the specific genes which make jumping possible for rabbits and similar animals which hop as a form of locomotion.

National Geographic Nature Photos

ng african-elephant-queleas

Elephant and Queleas, Tanzania

ng base-jumping-yosemite

Base jumping, Yosemite national park, California

ng boy-buffaloes-india

Water Buffalo India

ng cage-divers-great-white

Great White checking out the shark cage

ng cheetah 2

Cheetahs in Kenya checking out the tourists

ng cheetah and leopard botswana

Leopard (left) stealing a Cheetahs kill

ng elephants-serengeti-

Elephants moving through the Serengeti

ng gelades ethiopia

Geladas monkeys Ethiopia

ng giraffes-gazelles-namibia_

Giraffes and Gazelles Namibia

ng hmong-child-buffalo_vietnam

Child and buffalo in Vietnam

ng kash flowers India

Harvesting Kash flowers India

ng kyrgyz-girls-afghanistan

Kyrgyz girls Afghanistan

ng mountain-gorillas-africa-sartore

Mountain gorilla and baby

ng penn chicken farm

Chicken farm Pennsylvania

ng redwood tree

Climbing redwood trees in California

ng serengeti

Lions in the Serengeti

ng south africa

Sleeping white lion South Africa

ng tigers-watering-hole-winter_ india

Tigers India

ng -yosemite-falls

Free rock climbing Yosemite California


Lake Wakatipu New Zealand


Lions chilling out in Tanzania

National Geographic Travel Photos

The Storr is part of the Trotternish geologic formation in the northeast corner of the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The largest of the monoliths is called The Old Man of Storr. To the south are the Cuillins of southern Skye.

Like a castle in ruins, the Old Man of Storr rock formation guards the landscape on Isle of Skye in Scotland. Fifty meters high, the Old Man is a weathered piece of the larger rocky ridge known as the Storr. The area has such an otherworldly look that Ridley Scott filmed scenes from his 2012 movie Prometheus there.

nat geo1

This cow isn’t floating in the sky—it’s standing alone in shallow waters in the coastal town of Laurieton in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. Laurieton, with a population of less than 2,000 people, is actually the largest town in the Camden Haven district.

EMERPC Crowds gather under the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park in Washington DC.

Visitors take in the solid-granite tribute to civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King, Jr., at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial in Washington, D.C. In his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, King addressed the 250,000 people who gathered on the National Mall in D.C., close to where this monument stands today.

Playing winter hockey in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Where there’s a puck, there’s a way. A group of Canadian hockey players proves that little will stop them from playing their nation’s favorite (although not national) sport, clearing snow off a pond in 1.6-million-acre Banff National Park. They couldn’t have picked a much more scenic spot to play: This game is taking place in the shadow of Mount Rundle, Banff’s iconic 9,600-foot peak.

Tibetan horsemen display their skills at a government-organized horse festival in Yushu, China, July 26, 2015. These days, horse festivals on the Tibetan plateau are not just about equestrian prowess, but political affairs with a propaganda goal ? to signal that traditional Tibetan culture is thriving, contrary to what the Dalai Lama and other critics say. (Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)

In Yushu, an autonomous prefecture in China’s Qinghai Province, riders participate in the Yushu Horse Festival. The summer event is held annually beginning July 25 and features colorful displays of traditional Tibetan costumes and culture, as well as horse races and athletic competitions.

A tourist boat with restaurant aboard, especially designed for winter rivers, cruises the frozen Moskva River in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. Temperatures dipped to -18 C (-0,4 F) in Moscow and -20 C (-4 F) in surrounding regions. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

A boat navigates the icy river Moskva (or Moscow River) in Moscow, Russia, offering sightseers protection from the cold and a unique view of the city—including, perhaps, a glimpse of the famous Gorky Park, which stretches some 300 acres along the river. Even in winter, Moscow, Russia’s political, cultural, and commercial center and home to a population of about 12 million, is worth a visit.

A cave explorer looks down into a large cave passage from the second doline in Hang Son Doong. The second doline is a large hole in the ceiling of the cave giving plant life the sunlight they need to grow.

Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong stands as proof that the world still has wonders yet to be uncovered. First explored in 2009, the colossal cave is big enough to house an entire city block of 40-story buildings and has an underground river and jungle. Part of the reason the cave’s ecosystem is able to function is this doline, or sinkhole, that allows sunlight to enter.