Seven satellites were sent into orbit by Virgin Galactic

15th January, 2022.      //   Space Travel  // 

During its most recent mission, Virgin successfully launched all seven customer satellites onboard its LauncherOne rocket into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s third successful flight, less than a year after its first, was the Above The Clouds mission, which continued the company’s strong track record of deploying satellites for government and commercial customers.
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Cosmic Girl, a 747 carrier aircraft operated by responsive launch and space solutions company, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port and flew to a launch site over the Pacific Ocean, some 50 miles south of the Channel Islands. The LauncherOne rocket ignited and launched itself into space after a seamless release from the airplane, eventually discharging its payload into a precise target orbit around 500km above the Earth’s surface at 45 degrees inclination. This was the first time somebody from the West Coast achieved this orbit.
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In addition to new Above the Clouds customer Spire Global, Inc., Virgin Orbit has successfully delivered commercial, government, international, and national security satellites to space, including first-ever repeat customers the US Department of Defense Space Test Program and Polish company SatRevolution.
Experiments in space-based communications, space debris detection, and in-space navigation and propulsion, as well as satellites that will benefit the worldwide agriculture sector, are among the satellites launched on the company’s latest mission. Virgin Orbit has now launched 26 satellites, bringing its total number of launches to 26.
Our customers are beginning to hear from their satellites when they check in from orbit, and that’s what success looks like for us.” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said, “It’s a thrill for our team that this mission included our first repeat and ‘last minute ticket’ customers, as well as reaching an orbit that no one had ever reached from the West Coast before, all of which confirms the team’s ability to provide top-tier launch service anywhere, anytime.”
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“On top of that, we flew through weather and a cloud layer that would have grounded any other launch I’ve worked on in my career, something only made possible by air-launch and our incredible team. We can say with confidence that in this new era of regular, frequent, successful missions, we can help our customers and partners use space technology to advance human knowledge and open space for good.”

“What an unforgettable experience to watch the Virgin Orbit team complete another perfect mission to space. I could not be prouder of the work they are doing. I am beaming alongside them,” said Virgin Orbit founder Richard Branson. “We supported experimental, important work for our three happy customers today. I congratulate them and our wonderful team.”

Because of the unique air-launch system Virgin Orbit has developed, the Above the Clouds mission was launched in an orbit never before directly accessible from the West Coast of the Americas. Rather than launching from a fixed pad on the ground, Virgin Orbit conducts its launches from under the wing of a modified 747 aircraft, and by flying the aircraft further out over the ocean, the company was able to launch on a trajectory no ground-launch rocket could have achieved. That direct injection into the target orbit saved the satellites onboard this mission months of time and kilograms of fuel they might have otherwise spent correcting their orbit from what a landlocked launch site could provide them.

The Above the Clouds mission was named after the fifth track on Gang Starr’s 1998 album Moment of Truth, featuring Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan. The record was released by Virgin Records in collaboration with Noo Trybe Records and is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.

The latest Virgin Orbit milestone came just days after the company brought a 70-foot rocket to Times Square to mark going public as #VORB at Nasdaq HQ in New York.

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