Microsoft co-founder and entrepreneur Paul Allen has teamed up with SpaceShipOne's Burt Rutan for a carrier aircraft designed to launch next-generation rockets from high altitude.
Allen said he was prepared to commit over $200 million to Burt Rutan's Stratolaunch project. Allen is known for his multi-billion dollar investment portfolio which includes ownership of two professional sports teams, the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association.
He is also the owner of Octopus, a 414-foot mega yacht, believed to have been the biggest such yacht at the time of its construction. Octopus also sports two helicopters on the top deck.
The Flying Heritage Collection is Allen's collection of rare military aircraft, which comprises machines from Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. It includes artifacts and materials to illustrate the technical developments that took place between 1935 and 1945.
He pledged $13.5 million towards the construction of the Allen Telescope Array, formerly known as the One Hectare Telescope. It is a joint effort by the SETI Institute and the Radio Astronomy Laboratory (RAL) at the University of California, Berkeley, to construct a radio interferometer that is dedicated to astronomical observations and a simultaneous search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
A generous donor to the University of Washington, Allen has also established the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum in Seattle.