Virgin intends to launch satellites from a Boeing 747

Virgin intends to launch satellites from a Boeing 747

Virgin Orbit is preparing its next orbital launch for June with the assistance of a former Virgin Atlantic 747-400. The company will launch satellites for the US Department of Defense and the Royal Netherlands Air Force, among other clients, as part of the mission. Let’s take a closer look at this thrilling mission.

The next rocket is ready to go

Virgon Orbit is winding up its “Launch Demo” programme now that it has demonstrated the ability to launch payloads into space to the rest of the planet. The business is now embarking on a new mission, dubbed “Tubular Bells, Part One.”

“Right now, the rocket that will take our next customers to space is completely assembled, and we’ll ship it out to our Mojave test site for prelaunch operations in the coming days. Our team has been able to function at a whole new level of quality and accuracy now that this is all familiar work.” – Orbit Virgin

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A look at the next mission’s rocket. Photo: Virgin Orbit

Part One of Tubular Bells

Virgin Orbit will perform its next orbital launch very soon. The company claims that its efforts will be completed in June. This, according to the organisation, is much faster than previous achievements.

“The space industry has a history of taking a long time to transition from early experiments to commercial operation. Virgin Orbit is breaking the tradition thanks to a world-class team and our fully operational, cutting-edge factory.”

The following customers are collaborating with Virgin Orbit on this mission:

  • The US Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program’s (STP) Rapid Agile Launch (RALI) Initiative is launching three CubeSat packages.
  • The Royal Netherlands Air Force is launching BRIK II, a CubeSat, as the country’s first military satellite.
  • SatRevolution is launching the first two optical satellites of its 14-satellite STORK constellation, STORK-4 and STORK-5.

The launch will take place from “what is currently a bare concrete pad” at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, according to Virgin Orbit. The payload’s target orbit is 500 kilometres, or a “circular orbit at 60 degrees inclination.”

The service of Cosmic Girl will begin

Virgin Atlantic’s “Cosmic Girl” was retired from normal, earthly passenger service about six years ago. G-VWOW was withdrawn from service in October 2015 and sent to San Antonio for storage before being re-registered in the United States as N744VG under Virgin Galactic a few days later.

“Seeing the modified 747 look so different from when she was part of our Virgin Atlantic fleet was incredible. It’s the pinnacle of upcycling!” – Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder (2018)

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Take a look at Cosmic Girl getting a rocket. Photo: Virgin Orbit

Cosmic Girl’s interior was stripped clean, and its 386 passenger seats (48 business, 32 premium economy, and 306 economy) were refitted and updated for its new and exciting function.

For those unfamiliar with Virgin Orbit’s work, the former Virgin Atlantic 747 transports the “LauncherOne” rocket to an altitude where it can be deployed, propelling the payload of satellites into orbit. Cosmic Girl is the first 747 in history to be converted to fire rockets, according to Virgin Group member Sir Richard Branson.

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Cover Photo Credit: Virgin Orbit