Richard Branson is planning to launch a rocket from a jumbo jet as part of Virgin Orbit.
VIRGIN ORBIT, Richard Branson’s “premier satellite launch service,” plans to use a rocket mounted to a jumbo jet to launch a tiny payload of satellites.
The Virgin Orbit mission, nicknamed Tubular Bells, Part One, comes more than six months after the company’s first successful space voyage. Virgin Orbit will now launch a total of seven satellites into orbit using the Cosmic Girl rocket, which will be launched from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747 jet. Both the rocket LauncherOne and the spacecraft Cosmic Girl have arrived at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, where they will be prepared for launch.
The mission is on track to launch before the end of the month, with the corporation predicting a launch window in the last week of June.
LauncherOne is already mounted to the 747’s left wing, where it has completed its first phase of testing, which included a “hugely successful cryoload” last week.
“Cryoload is the first time we load cryogenic propellants (liquid oxygen) onto the rocket and fully pressurize the system up to flight-like levels,” Virgin Orbit added.
“We were able to complete all of our intended objectives during this test, including 100% liquid oxygen (LOX) and fuel fill, as well as nominal pressurization of all high-pressure gas systems with no tank leakage.”
Both the rocket and the 747 will require one more wet dress rehearsal before launch, but if Virgin Orbit is granted the go-ahead, you’ll be able to watch the mission unfold live online.
“We’re ecstatic to bring you live views from Mojave on launch day with our first official mission livestream, viewable on our YouTube page,” Virgin Orbit said.
“From user interviews to a deep dive into our patch creation process, there’s no better way to learn everything there is to know about this launch. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!”
On the company’s official @VirginOrbit Twitter account, you’ll be able to monitor the mission’s progress in real time.
Virgin Orbit will launch a variety of satellites for various government agencies aboard the LauncherOne rocket.
The US Department of Defense Space Test Program, the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and the Polish firm SatRevolution are among them.
The satellite payload will be carried by Cosmic Girl to a height of roughly 35,000 feet. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”