Virgin Orbit successfully launches satellites during first night mission

Virgin Orbit successfully launches satellites during first night mission

 

Virgin Orbit launched a rocket carrying seven satellites from California’s Mojave Air and House Port early Saturday morning at 1:49 AM ET (10:49PM native), marking the small satellite tv for pc launcher’s first profitable night time mission. The corporate introduced the satellites into low Earth orbit with the assistance of its Boeing 747 provider plane referred to as Cosmic Lady, which had the LauncherOne rocket connected beneath one in every of its wings.

The mission, referred to as Straight Up after a 1988 Paula Abdul music, concerned seven analysis satellites as a part of NASA’s House Take a look at Program. Like its earlier missions, Virgin Orbit propelled the satellites into house by having Cosmic Lady carry the LauncherOne rocket 35,000 ft above the bottom, giving it a headstart earlier than the rocket detaches and launches its payload into orbit. Virgin Orbit initially postponed the mission on Thursday after discovering that its rocket propellant temperature was “barely out of bounds.”

Virgin Orbit has made 5 launch makes an attempt in whole, however solely failed as soon as throughout its first check flight in Could 2020. It has been on a roll since first reaching orbit in January 2021, deploying a set of satellites into orbit in June 2021 and finishing one more mission earlier this yr. Virgin Orbit’s Straight Up mission is the corporate’s fourth profitable flight thus far.

Virgin Orbit is owned by the British billionaire Richard Branson, and isn’t to be confused with Virgin Galactic, the corporate’s separate department for business spaceflight. The corporate went public by way of a SPAC (particular goal acquisition firm) merger final yr. Whereas it has accomplished all its launches from Southern California up to now, Virgin Orbit plans on taking off from Cornwall, England later this yr.

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