Boeing plans to launch rockets from carrier aircraft

Boeing has big plans for future space missions.

Earlier this month, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg revealed Boeing’s plans for commercial space-travel market including hypersonic aircraft shuttling travelers between continents. He also challenged SpaceX by declaring that Boeing would beat SpaceX by sending humans to Mars first.

A recent patent application discloses Boeing’s plan to deploy a rocket from a carrier aircraft. The carrier aircraft defines an interface envelope. The rocket is secured to an underbelly of the carrier aircraft’s fuselage. The rocket includes four pivotable rocket motors.


With pivotable rocket motors in their stowed positions, the rocket fits within the interface envelope. Two of the pivotable rocket motors face the belly of the carrier aircraft, and the other two pivotable rocket motors face the ground.


The carrier aircraft takes off and flies to a target altitude, speed and attitude. Then, the carrier aircraft releases the rocket As the rocket is released, spring-loaded housings urge the rocket towards their deployed positions. After the rocket is moved to their deployed positions and the rocket is safely away from the carrier aircraft, the rocket motors are ignited. Once a rocket is ignited, its thrust force is much larger than any of the other forces (aerodynamic, inertial or structural) acting on the rocket. Therefore, stable orientation of the rocket motor is maintained during flight.

Patent Information
Publication number: US 20160298948
Patent Title: Spring-assisted deployment of a pivotable rocket motor
Publication date: 13 Oct 2016
Filing date: 13 Apr 2015
Inventors: Justin G. Albright; Aaron J. Kutzmann;