Richard Branson is a synonym for innovation and ambition. He had previously launched Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company, and now he has tested the limits of a Boeing 747 before launching a rocket in outer space attached to one of its wings.
The 747, before being put to the test, was modified and named as the “Cosmic Girl.” It took off from the Mojave air and Space Port in California. The flight took place on Wednesday. Once the aircraft reached the lofty heights of 33,000 feet, the rocket engines ignited, and boom, it was gone, launched to outer space from air!
The mission whimsically called “Tubular Bells: Part One” marks the first time Virgin Orbit has launched a payload for paying commercial customers — and the kickoff of a novel way of delivering private satellites into orbit.
Humorously termed as the “Tubular Bells,” this launch marks a new era. An era in which private satellites and payloads will be launched from mid-air to outer space. Fancy stuff!
The rocket had payloads for the US Department of Defense Space Test Program, Polish satellite company SatRevolution, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Three different organizations and 3 different countries.
In January this year, the Virgin Orbit was successful in carrying out an orbital launch. It had previously tried to do so in May 2020 but failed because of a ruptured fuel line. A rocket attached to the wing of the modified Boeing 747, Cosmic Girl, delivered 10 CubeSats into low-Earth orbits for NASA.
A total of 1100 lbs can be sent to orbit with the help of Launcher One. With a total length of 70 feet, the rocket is set to be a utility carrier to orbits for satellites and space stations.
Space X uses its used Falcon 9 rocket for delivering payload in outer space. But with an increasing number of aspirants of private satellites in the orbit, the Virgin Orbit’s orbital launch might be the answer.