Virgin Orbit has successfully launched seven other satellites into space

Virgin Orbit has successfully launched seven new satellites into a rocket that was launched from a modified Boeing 747 flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Richard Branson’s space company placed small satellites in orbit 310 miles and took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Thursday at 16:39 ET (21:39 GMT).

The jet, known as the Cosmic Girl, flew 35,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean for an hour before RAF pilot Matthew ‘Stanny’ Stannard launched the LauncherOne.

Named the Above the Clouds mission, the launch was one of the first to launch a 45-degree, 310-mile orbit off the west coast of the United States.

It includes US Department of Defense satellites, which are experiments in space communications and space navigation, as well as a British satellite from Spire to detect space debris in low Earth orbit.

VirginOrbit tweeted after the start: “And here we go, people! We just heard it from Mission Control [NewtonFour] he successfully re-ignited and deployed all customer spacecraft to their target orbit. ”

Virgin Orbit fired seven satellites into space on Thursday when RAF pilot “Stanny” launched a Boeing 747 LauncherOne at 35,000 feet above the ground.

RAF pilot Matthew Stannard, known as “Stanny”, more accustomed to the Typhoon jet, was driven by Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747 launcher.

VirginOrbit tweeted after the start: “And here we go, people! We just learned from Mission Control that NewtonThree successfully re-ignited and deployed all customer spacecraft to their target orbit, ”they later corrected to NewtonFour.

HOW VIGIN ORBIT GETS SATELLITE IN SPACE

TAKE OFF Cosmic Girl, modified by a Boeing 747, takes off from an air and space port, originally in California.

ROCKET LOCATION At a cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet, the chief pilot presses the Big Red button, which releases the rocket from the pylon.

FIRST PHASE OF BURNS After a 4-second free fall, the first-stage engine, NewtonThree, wakes up to life and accelerates the rocket to more than 8,000 miles per hour. As soon as the fuel is consumed, the first stage is switched off.

COVERAGE DEPARTMENT When LauncherOne is now 310 to 745 miles above the earth’s surface, the fairing opens and reveals a payload as it approaches its target.

SATELLITE DISTRIBUTION Eventually, with very precise timing, the second stage will launch the satellite into its final orbit.

RETURN TO EARTH Atmospheric resistance eventually pulls the second stage back to Earth, where it burns in the atmosphere, thus minimizing the ecological footprint.

Virgin Orbit has already launched 19 satellites into space using Cosmic Girl and Launcher-One, but the company said before the launch that the mission was different.

“We are going into an orbit that we believe has never been reached from the West Coast,” Tony Gingiss, chief operating officer of Virgin Orbit, told reporters.

“With this start, we prove that we can get to the orbital slopes and geometries that we would probably have said if you asked us a year ago, ‘Well, maybe.’

At launch, the team sent a rocket at an angle of 45 degrees to an orbital position of 310 miles, which they achieved by moving the point of fall.

“We decided to fly a plane further over the Pacific so we could fly along the coast of South America without having to cross the mainland,” said Space Hartews Dan Hart, president and CEO of Virgin Orbit.

“Our ability to achieve a 45-degree slope from the West Coast significantly increases the usefulness of a West Coast launch.”

The ‘Stanny’ pilot was the one who pulled the trigger of the 70ft rocket as soon as the plane reached 35,000 feet. He is on a three-year assignment from the Royal Air Force as part of a project to help the RAF understand the role of small satellite launches.

“Stanny is a great addition to our team. As you would expect from his past at the RAF, in addition to his world-class piloting skills, he also brings a keen intellect, incredible attention to detail and an excellent experience base, ”said Tony Oring, BBC Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Orbit. .

Its deployment is part of a broader investigation by the British Ministry of Defense, which plans to one day use the Virgin Orbit to launch military satellites from Great Britain.

This is the third launch for Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne with one of the satellites made by Glasgow-based Spire Global.

It was a nanosatellite, developed in collaboration with the Austrian Space Forum and Findus Venture, to detect space debris in low Earth orbit.

“Spire provides what we like to call ‘Space as a Service’, where we provide our nanosatellite and constellation management expertise to help organizations develop their own applications on our satellites,” said a spokesman for MailOnline.

Virgin Orbit said the ability to add more satellites in a relatively short time – a decision was made in December – is an example of its sensitivity and flexibility.

It includes US Department of Defense satellites, which are experiments in space communications and space navigation, as well as a British satellite from Spire to detect space debris in low Earth orbit.

It includes US Department of Defense satellites, which are experiments in space communications and space navigation, as well as a British satellite from Spire to detect space debris in low Earth orbit.

This is the third launch for Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne with one of the satellites made by Glasgow-based Spire Global.

This is the third launch for Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne with one of the satellites made by Glasgow-based Spire Global.

Another example is the fact that it is a horizontal take-off system, which means that it can take off from the runway and fly to the desired insertion point.

This is the first of six launches that Virgin Orbit has planned for this year, and two of them will launch from the Cornwall spaceport in the middle of the year.

It will be the first satellites and the first rocket to be launched from British soil, and will be part of the British Space Agency’s wider efforts to launch British missiles.

The jet flew up to 35,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean for one hour before deploying the Launcher One and about 660 lb of satellites contained inside

The jet flew up to 35,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean for one hour before deploying the Launcher One and about 660 lb of satellites contained inside

This launch was named the mission, Above the Clouds, and is among the first to launch into orbit 45 degrees 310 miles off the west coast of the United States.

This launch was named the mission, Above the Clouds, and is among the first to launch into orbit 45 degrees 310 miles off the west coast of the United States.

Future satellites could be launched into polar orbit from the north of Scotland, including the Shetland Islands, where a number of companies, including Lockheed Martin and Skyrora, plan to operate over the next few years.

In order for Virgin Orbit to start six times in 2022, it must significantly extend its turnaround time, and this mission will be six and a half months after the last one.

“Basically, we’ve halved it so far, at almost every subsequent launch,” Gingass said, adding that for the mission, the rocket left the factory in Long Beach, California at 4:00 a.m. and was installed at the 747 in Mojave six hours later. .

The launch included US Department of Defense satellites, which are experiments in space communications and space navigation

The launch included US Department of Defense satellites, which are experiments in space communications and space navigation

“There are definitely improvements you will see during 2022 in terms of timing between rockets,” Gingiss explained to SpaceNews.

“We continue to increase our efficiency in our factory as well, which will allow us to fire missiles faster.”

In the future, Virgin Orbit plans to add more starting points to its list, with Cornwall joining California in 2022 and Japan being added to the list for 2023.

The company is also negotiating with Australia, Brazil, a number of European countries and US space forces to operate outside of Guam.

PLANT FOR THE FIRST ROCKET DEPARTURE FROM BRITISH LAND

The first rocket to take off from British soil is expected to take off by the end of 2022, although the exact location is currently unknown.

A race is taking place between the spaceports in Scotland and Cornwall to win the crown of Britain’s first launch site.

Cornwall Spaceport is a horizontal runway with a traditional runway that is expected to host the Virgin Orbit.

Richard Branson founded the company by sending Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft, to a height of 35,000 feet carrying the LauncherOne rocket.

When it reaches the target height, the pilots launch a rocket, which starts the engines and carries the load – up to 300 kg – into orbit.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the goal is to try for the rocket’s first launch to leave Earth before the Queen’s June platinum jubilee.

Other competitors for the title of the first British rocket launch include traditional vertical providers.

These include Lockheed Martin, Orbex and Skyrora – all operating from Scotland, including Shetland.

OneWeb, a UK-owned satellite communications company, has been encouraged to use UK launch facilities in the future.

Traditionally, they transmit their satellites, each weighing about 150 kg, into orbit on an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from Russia in batches of 50 pieces.

The problem is that British launch providers want to send small payloads, including nano satellites.

They typically weigh less than 1,000 kg, which means that only one or two OneWeb satellites could be launched on a British rocket at a time – so they can only be useful to replace individual satellites, rather than as part of the initial deployment of more than 650 spacecraft.

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