Virgin Orbit acquired a LauncherOne missile It reached space during the second launch show, held on January 17, and successfully deployed 10 NASA’s cubic satellites.
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The Virgin Orbit launch system uses a technology called airdrop, in which a missile is launched from under the wing of a jet plane, rather than a conventional launch pad on the ground.
“In addition to improving the payload capacity of the missile, this technology allows the system to do so LauncherOne is the world’s most flexible and responsive launch serviceFlying in a short time and from a variety of locations to reach any orbit. “
For the mission, a Virgin Orbit transport plane, a custom 747-400 aircraft called Cosmic Girl, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port at around 18.50 UTC and headed to the launch site above Pacific Ocean, about 75 kilometers south of the Channel Islands.
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After a soft launch of the aircraft, the two-stage missile ignited and entered orbit. At the end of the flight, a LauncherOne 10 CubeSats rocket deployed in precise orbit to the team’s target.
The payloads on board the LauncherOne were identified by NASA As part of the agency’s CubeSat (CSLI) launch initiative. Almost all CubeSat assignments are designed, built, and tested by universities in the United States, including Brigham Young University (PICS), University of Michigan (MiTEE) and University of Louisiana at Lafayette (CAPE-3).
This flight also sets a historical precedent: no other orbital-class liquid-fueled air-launched rocket had reached space before today.
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Virgin Orbit has accomplished something that many thought impossible. It was very inspiring to see Virgin Atlantic 747 Cosmic Girl, specially modified, has sent a LauncherOne rocket into orbit. Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said this remarkable journey is the culmination of many years of hard work and will unleash a new generation of innovators on their way into orbit.
With this successful demo, Virgin Orbit will officially enter commercial service for its next mission. Virgin Orbit has booked subsequent launches by clients ranging from the US Space Force and the British Royal Air Force to commercial clients such as Swarm Technologies, Italy’s SITAEL and Danish GomSpace.
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