Virgin Orbit’s Rocket Successfully Deploys Satellites into Space

Virgin Orbit, an American rocket company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, has succeeded in installing its first satellites into space using its “air launch” strategy for space transportation.

Virgin Orbit, an American rocket company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, has succeeded in installing its first satellites into space using its “air launch” strategy for space transportation.

The privately funded rocket firm said its rocket – also called as LauncherOne – was liquid-fuelled and has been released from beneath its customized Boeing 747 jet, nicknamed Cosmic Girl, at about 50 miles south of California Channel Islands and approximately 35,000 feet above ground level.

After parting ways with the jumbo jet, LauncherOne’s engine ignited and took off to space, releasing the ten shoebox-sized satellites into orbit before falling back to Earth.

The satellites were created by NASA researchers, as well as other experts from several American universities, and would be used for space research purposes.

“We are so, so proud to say that LauncherOne has now completed its first mission to space,” Virgin Orbit’s team said in a statement.

Virgin Orbit has been developing its method of airborne rocket-launching for years. It started performing progressively elaborate “air launch” tests in 2018.

However, the Virgin team suffered several setbacks after its previous test failed eight months ago.

The company’s engineers blamed the failure on breakage in the propellant line of the rocket, causing it to shut down shortly after its release.

“We’ve done a huge amount to assure the safety of the team, and so much of our launch operations and our activities are virtual,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in a press release. “Doing it in the face of a pandemic is really amazing.”

“Watching [Virgin Orbit] rise to the occasion and dive into the details and drive the maturation of the system, and doing it in a pandemic environment, is really amazing to watch,” Hart added.


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