Virgin Orbit Launches 10 CubeSatellites To Space Using An Aircraft

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This was the first successful satellite launch to orbit after its launch attempt 8 months ago.

Last Sunday marked the day on which a privately funded U.S firm launched payloads to orbit mid-air successfully.

Virgin Orbit launched the rocket named ‘LauncherOne’ that works on liquid rocket fuel. They customized an old virgin Boeing 747-400 airplane, also called ‘Cosmic Girl,’ and used it to fly the rocket from beneath its wings.

The rocket launch took place on Sunday at 10:50 AM from California’s Mojave Desert and saw Cosmic Girl separating from the rocket at about an altitude of 35,000 feet, respectively.

After a short span of freefall, Launcherone’s engines came to play and launched it into space. The rocket launched 10 payloads in mid-air at that height, developed by researchers from NASA with some university students’ combined efforts.

Virgin Orbit is hopeful of becoming a key player in low-cost satellite launches. Sunday marked a day of great achievement for its team, as the successful launch was even more significant for them as they faced a failed launch last spring.

Theoretically speaking, using a 747 aircraft as a platform to launch rockets is a pretty feasible idea. It could be done from anywhere in the world, as all it requires is a suitable runway.

“A new gateway to space has just sprung open! That LauncherOne was able to reach orbit today successfully is a testament to this team’s talent, precision, drive, and ingenuity,” says Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart.

Founder of the Virgin orbit group, Sir Richard Branson, said that ” Virgin Orbit has achieved something many thought impossible. It was so inspiring to see our specially adapted Virgin Atlantic 747, Cosmic Girl, send the LauncherOne rocket soaring into orbit.” He added, “This magnificent flight is the culmination of many years of hard work and will also unleash a whole new generation of innovators on the path to orbit.”

As of now, Virgin Orbit has some clients who have booked them for future payload launches. For example, the U.S. Space Force and the U.K.’s Royal Air Force.

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