Virgin Orbit is testing their LauncherOne [24.05.2020]

in rocket •  4 days ago 

Virgin Orbit will be air-launching their LauncherOne rocket from a former Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 for the first time. LauncherOne is another competitor in the field of smallsat launch providers such as Rocket Lab from New Zealand with their Electron rocket and their direct competition Pegasus. Pegasus, by Northrop Grumman, is another air-launched rocket . Both air-launched rockets can carry approximately 500kg to LEO, but Pegasus is 4 to 5 times more expensive per launch.

A significant advantage of air-launched rockets is that they can launch from anywhere and reach a variety of different orbits. Virgin Orbit even offers a three stage option for interplanetary missions.

This maiden flight will carry a simulation mass of 500 kg.

The carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl will take off from Mojave Air and Space Port and release LauncherOne over the Pacific ocean.

Summary by Scott Manley: YouTube

Virgin Orbit is owned by Aabar Investments and the Virgin Group.

Note: Virgin Orbit is a different company than Virgin Galactic, which is is planning on offering sub-orbital space flights for passengers.

There will be no live stream available but Virgin Orbit will provide footage afterwards.

Stay up to date:

Useful links to stay up to date on launches: Launch Schedule

Everyday Astronaut: Prelaunch Previews

Space News:

NASA Spaceflight

Be aware, this is rocket surgery.

Small disturbances can lead to postponed launches. Making sure everything is just right is way cheaper than risking big fireworks.

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Very much looking forward to the event. But...what's this rumor about the NASA director stepping down 3 days before a TESLA launch? Did I get those facts straight?

Only rumours so far. One theory is that he might have leaked information of a bidding process for a lunar lander to Boeing. The information might have been that their proposal is too damn expensive. Which might be without consecquences since Boeing didnt make it to the final stage anyways.

Scott Manley: Youtube

Yeah, that sounds like a neither here nor there issue in the end. But understandable as to the resulting step-down.

It doesn't have any implication on the upcoming manned launch to the ISS.
And there is a chance that Elon might just hire the guy for SpaceX. Doug Loverro is nerdy enough.