Virgin Orbit successfully launches its first commercial payloads to space

Business

TechCrunch 30 June, 2021 - 12:15pm 9 views

Is Richard Branson going to space?

Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit successfully launches second rocket this year from a 747 jet. Virgin Orbit, the satellite-launching spinoff of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, sent its second mission of the year to orbit on Wednesday. CNBCRichard Branson's Virgin Orbit successfully launches second rocket this year from a 747 jet

Updated 1:20 PM ET, Wed June 30, 2021

Read full article at TechCrunch

Virgin Orbit to double launch rate next year, CEO says: 'We can turn any airport into a spaceport'

CNBC 30 June, 2021 - 09:02pm

Sir Richard Branson's private space venture Virgin Orbit launched its second successful satellite mission this year on Wednesday, with CEO Dan Hart telling CNBC the company now is focused on "ramping up" and expanding operations globally.

"We're on a really good trajectory to have another flight this year, and then double that cadence and have six flights next year and then increase from there," Hart said.

Virgin Orbit uses a modified Boeing 747 aircraft as the platform to launch its rockets, rather than from the ground like other companies. Wednesday's launch – which took off from the California desert and flew to space from above the Pacific Ocean – marked the company's first commercial launch, as the prior two launches were demonstration missions.

The company currently flies out of the Mojave Air and Space Port in California and has agreements in place to launch from the island of Guam and Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Virgin Orbit is also working with "other countries" on agreements, Hart said, including Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

"We can turn any airport into a spaceport," Hart said.

Virgin Orbit's approach to launching rockets is "completely and utterly unique" compared to its ground-based rocket-building competitors, Branson said. The company aims to be capable of responding to a customer's launch request within 24 hours, which Branson says is a need he's talked about with leaders in the U.S., U.K. and Canadian militaries.

"If countries wanted to store rockets for future crises in the world, we will just build the capacity and do exactly that," Branson said.

Got a confidential news tip? We want to hear from you.

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox

Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services. 

Data is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. Global Business and Financial News, Stock Quotes, and Market Data and Analysis.

Virgin Orbit sends satellites into orbit from air-launched rocket

NBC News 30 June, 2021 - 09:02pm

Virgin Orbit's aircraft, a Boeing 747 better known as Cosmic Girl, took flight shortly after 9:50 a.m. ET from the Mojave Air and Space Port, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.

After reaching its drop-off point about an hour after takeoff, the company's LauncherOne rocket separated from the aircraft and carried the seven small satellites from three different countries, including the United States, Poland and the Netherlands, into Earth's orbit.

The rocket launch is the first part of Virgin Orbit's "Tubular Bells" mission, which is named after the first track on Mike Oldfield's 1973 titular album — the first record released by Richard Branson's Virgin Records.

"Tubular Bells: Part One" also marks the first mission since the company's successful orbital demonstration launch in January.

LauncherOne's first stage, the large lower part of the rocket, separates as the curve of the Earth comes into view and the rocket continues on toward orbit. pic.twitter.com/hRYqKMpmsS

Instead of a traditional launch pad, the Virgin Orbit system uses a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft to launch a rocket from under the wing of its carrier plane, according to its website. The engines are then ignited and the rockets power themselves into orbit.

Of the seven satellites, four belong to the U.S. Department of Defense's Space Test Program, two to the Polish company SatRevolution, and one to the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Virgin Orbit launches its Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne rocket to deliver satellites into orbit

Daily Mail 30 June, 2021 - 09:02pm

By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com

Virgin Orbit's carrier plane, known as Cosmic Girl, took off Wednesday with the LauncherOne rocket tightly secured under its left wing in the firm's first operational mission.

The duo launched at 9:50am ET from California's Mojave Air and Space Port with a goal of delivering seven satellites into orbit, which it did about one and a half hours after launch.

Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747,  traveled at more than 400 miles per hour through the sky as it headed out to the Pacific Ocean toward the drop point, 50 miles south of California's Channel Islands. 

LauncherOne separated from its flight companion at 10:50am ET at an elevation of more than 300,000 feet above the surface.

The 70-foot-long rocket ignited its single engine and shot off out of Earth's atmosphere. 

'All I can say is when the engineers tell me that I can go to space, I´m ready, fit and healthy to go,' Branson told the AP. 'So we´ll see.' 

Virgin Orbit named Wednesday's mission 'Tubular Bells: Part One' after the first track on Mike Oldfield's 1973 album, 'Tubular Bells,' which was the first record ever released by founder Richard Branson's company Virgin Records.

Virgin Orbit's carrier plane, known as Cosmic Girl, took off Wednesday with the LauncherOne rocket tightly secured under its left wing in the firm's first operational mission

Prior to launch, Cosmic Girl was filled with kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants. 

The payloads include the Netherland's first military satellite, three satellites from a Defense Department program and two for SatRevolution, which plans to build a constellation of Earth-observing devices. 

The mission follows a successful test flight of Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket into orbit in January, which delivered 10 NASA satellites.

Previous launches were aborted in May 2020 due to engine trouble, and in December due to a surge in coronavirus cases. 

Cosmic Girl traveled at more than 400 miles per hour through the sky as it headed out to the Pacific Ocean toward the drop point that was 50 miles south of California's Channel Islands. Pictured is the rocket still attached to the carrier plane

LauncherOne separated from its flight companion at 10:50am ET at an elevation of more than 300,000 feet above the surface. The 70-foot-long rocket ignited its single engine and shot off to out of Earth's atmosphere. Pictured is the rocket in orbit

LauncherOne is capable of carrying around 1,100 pounds of payload into orbit, but using the two-stage method allows Virgin Orbit cuts costs and increases flexibility of missions compared to traditional rocket launches. 

Virgin Orbit, although owned by Branson, is a separate unit of Virgin Galactic - Branson's multinational conglomerate Virgin Group - and is a spinoff of the space tourism business.

The goal of Virgin Galactic is to send tourists to space, which received approval from the Federal Aviation Admiration (FAA) last Friday. 

The payloads include the Netherland's first military satellite, three satellites from a Defense Department program and two for SatRevolution, which plans to build a constellation of Earth-observing devices

Pictured is the Virgin Orbit team preparing the LauncherOne rocket for the Wednesday mission. The rocket is attached to the bottom of Cosmic Girl's left wing

The FAA said its approval of Virgin Galactic's license marked 'a new chapter in the story of human space flight' and likely fueled Virgin Galactic's historic day on Wall Street, which saw its stock close at $55.91 a share.  

The company still plans three additional test flights, one of which is expected to include Branson himself.

Virgin Galactic is targeting early 2022 to begin commercial service and has sold some 600 tickets priced at $200,000 to $250,000.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?

Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.

Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?

Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual

We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.

You can choose on each post whether you would like it to be posted to Facebook. Your details from Facebook will be used to provide you with tailored content, marketing and ads in line with our Privacy Policy.

Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

Virgin Orbit successfully launches a clutch of satellites to orbit

Yahoo News 30 June, 2021 - 09:02pm

Why it matters: Virgin Orbit is entering an increasingly crowded market of launchers hoping to take advantage of the growing demand by nations and other companies to launch small satellites to orbit in the coming years.

How it works: The company's Cosmic Girl 747 carrier plane took off from California's Mojave Air and Spaceport, carrying the LauncherOne rocket loaded down with satellites under its wing.

After arriving at the correct area above the Pacific coast, LauncherOne dropped from the plane and its rocket motor ignited, bringing the rocket and its payload up to orbit.

"It's a pinch-yourself moment," Richard Branson said of the launch on a Virgin Orbit webcast. The event comes after a successful test in January.

The seven satellites launched Wednesday were for the company's customers: the U.S. Department of Defense, Royal Netherlands Air Force and SatRevolution.

The big picture: Historically, small satellites have been forced to hitch rides to space as secondary payloads aboard rockets launching larger satellites, leaving those customers vulnerable to the whims and schedules of the primary on the mission.

Small launchers like Virgin Orbit see their value as providing a dedicated ride to these small satellites, allowing them to get to space on their own schedule.

Virgin Orbit had a successful first commercial launch, meaning there's now officially another small satellite launch provider in operation with a track record of delivering payloads to space. Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket took off from its carrier aircraft at around 11:45 AM EDT today, and the spacecraft had a successful series of engine fires and stage separations to make the trip to low Earth orbit. On board, Virgin Orbit carried seven payloads, including the first-ever defense satellite for the Netherlands, as well as cubsats developed by the U.S. Department of Defense for its Rapid Agile Launch initiative.

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson won’t say when he’ll ride his rocket ship to space or whether he's looking to become the first billionaire to launch aboard his own rocket. In an interview after Wednesday’s satellite launch by his separate company Virgin Orbit, Branson told The Associated Press he has to be “so circumspect” in what he says about Virgin Galactic, a publicly traded company. “All I can say is when the engineers tell me that I can go to space, I’m ready, fit and healthy to go," Branson said.

As CBS News visits the viciously contested front line, it's clear U.S. troops are leaving behind an Afghan security force struggling to fend off a resurgent Taliban.

The U.S. government's highway safety agency has ordered automakers to report any crashes involving fully autonomous vehicles or partially automated driver assist systems. The move Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the agency is taking a tougher stance on automated vehicle safety than in the past. It has been reluctant to issue any regulations of the new technology for fear of hampering adoption of the potentially life-saving systems.

Nikon is taking a trip back to its glory days of 35mm film photography with its second Z-series APS-C (DX) mirrorless camera, the Z fc.

The "Tubular Bells: Part One" mission marks the company's first since its successful orbital demonstration launch in January.

Rangers were also greeted by a lingering stench of sewage.

SpaceX launched 85 satellites for external customers, as well as three Starlink satellites, to orbit on Tuesday, marking the second successful launch of the company's dedicated rideshare missions. While the Transporter-2 mission will deliver fewer objects to space than the first rideshare mission (the Transporter-1 sent up 143 satellites, a new record), it launched more mass to orbit overall. SpaceX still ends up with a full launch and the revenue to operate it.

Proposed rules attacking civil liberties in the remote island chain of Lakshadweep underscore the Modi government's continued marginalization of Muslims in the world's largest democracy.

Analysts at JPMorgan are now urging caution on Japanese motorcycle and boat engine maker Yahama Motor.

Car air conditioning reduces humidity and keeps drivers cool while they drive, but wear and tear eventually catches up with these climate systems. Problems such as a refrigerant leak, blower moto...

The debris from the Surfside building collapse could hold clues to what caused the 12-story building to come down.

Lectrice, 28, grew up eating KFC, has watched American teen TV drama Gossip Girl since high school, loves wearing Nike Air Jordans and supports the #MeToo movement. She is also a staunch Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member. China's Communist Party, which celebrates its 100th anniversary on Thursday, is at the peak of its power under President Xi Jinping, analysts say, as China's post-COVID economy surges and its international stature grows.

A team of geologists discover that pyrite, aka fool's gold, continues to fool us because it actually contains pieces of "invisible gold." The post Fool’s Gold Has Tiny Specks of Gold in It After All appeared first on Nerdist.

Futuristic Mach-1 jets promise to make current air travel obsolete. But can supersonic's technical challenges keep up with its lofty goals?

Ring doorbells have caught some amazing stuff, including this sweet reunion from the Upstate.

Virgin Orbit launches cubesats on second operational mission - SpaceNews

SpaceNews 30 June, 2021 - 01:10pm

WASHINGTON — Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne successfully launched seven cubesats June 30 in the second operational mission of the air-launch system.

Virgin Orbit’s Boeing 747 aircraft, called Cosmic Girl, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port at approximately 9:50 a.m. Eastern. It flew to its drop point over the Pacific Ocean off the coast from Southern California, releasing the LauncherOne rocket at 10:47 a.m. Eastern.

The rocket’s two stages performed as expected, placing the upper stage into orbit. After a coast phase, the upper stage reignited its engine for a second burn and then released its payload of seven satellites about 40 minutes after first-stage ignition into 500-kilometer orbits at an inclination of 60 degrees, although the company didn’t provide formal confirmation of successful deployment until about two hours later.

“The team did a phenomenal job,” Dan Hart, chief executive of Virgin Orbit, said on the company webcast of the launch during the upper stage’s coast phase. “Every single countdown has its own personality. This one had a couple of little, tiny turns along the way. The team just jumped on those, resolved them quickly.”

The seven satellites on the “Tubular Bells: Part One” mission come from three customers. Four unnamed satellites are from the Defense Department’s Space Test Program, under a contract that is part of the DOD’s Rapid Agile Launch Initiative.

Two satellites, STORK-4 and STORK-5, were built by SatRevolution, a Polish smallsat developer planning a constellation of satellites for medium-resolution multispectral imagery. Virgin Orbit announced June 29 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with SatRevolution that could lead to launches of future satellites.

The seventh satellite is BRIK 2, a six-unit cubesat for the Royal Netherlands Air Force developed by Dutch company Innovative Solutions in Space. The satellite, the first for the Dutch military, will test communications technologies and demonstrate how cubesats can support Dutch military operations.

This was the third LauncherOne mission and the second consecutive successful one. After the first LauncherOne mission, a demo flight without payloads, failed to reach orbit in May 2020 because of a ruptured propellant line, the second launch in January successfully placed 10 cubesats into orbit on a NASA-funded mission.

Hart said in a June 29 call with reporters that he expected to perform at least one more LauncherOne mission this year, again out of Mojave. He said Virgin Orbit will accelerate operations in 2022 with six launches expected, including flights from Guam and England.

“Today is Virgin Orbit’s day,” Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said on the company webcast. He, like Hart, was in Mojave to watch the takeoff of Cosmic Girl on the mission. “It’s now hopefully going to become almost routine.”

“There are so many people that need satellites in space,” he added, “and we’re going to be able to deliver.”

2021 Spacenews, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Business Stories