Branson’s Virgin Orbit tries to reach space by launching a rocket in midair

Billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit aims to reach space for the first time on Sunday by launching a rocket from mid-air, a key attempt after stopping the rocket’s first test launch last year.

If the conditions on Sunday hold up, the 70-foot Long Beach company LauncherOne rocket will be dropped from the wing of a modified Boeing Co 747 dubbed CosmicGirl at 40,000 feet in height. The rocket will then fire up its engine to pierce Earth’s atmosphere and attempt to transport 10 small satellites into orbit for NASA, as Virgin tries to prove its technology.

The boot test source window from Mojave Air and Space Port in Southern California begins Sunday at 1pm EST (6am GMT). Virgin executives say high-altitude launches allow satellites to be positioned in their intended orbit more efficiently and also minimize weather-related cancellations than more traditional vertically launched rockets. from a ground base.

Competition is fierce between Virgin Orbit, Firefly, and the US and New Zealand company Rocket Lab, which are designing smaller or non-traditional systems to inject smaller satellites into orbit and meet growing demand. LauncherOne’s first attempt to reach space early last year was halted seconds after it was released from his transport plane.

The rocket fired its NewtonThree engine for a few seconds, but stopped in midair due to a broken propellant line, Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in July. Virgin Orbit has lagged behind Rocket Lab, which has already completed about 17 orbital launches, although Virgin Orbit says its rocket can carry around twice the weight.

VOX Space LLC, a subsidiary of Virgin Orbit’s government services, is selling launches using the system to the US military, with a first mission scheduled for October with a US Space Force $ 35 million contract for three missions.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

News Highlights:

  • LauncherOne’s first attempt to reach space early last year was halted seconds after it was released from his transport plane. The rocket fired its NewtonThree engine for a few seconds, but stopped in midair due to a broken propellant line, Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in July.
  • Branson’s Virgin Orbit tries to reach space by launching a rocket in midair