Virgin Orbit completes launch rehearsal ahead of Cornwall flight

Concept of Virgin Orbit Spaceport Cornwall (image by Cornwall Council)

pristine orbit completed a wet dress rehearsal ahead of its maiden flight from Spaceport Cornwall. The launch window is yet to be determined by the regulatory launch authorization process.

Virgin Orbit said Wednesday that the rehearsal marks the rocket’s last major acceptance test before it docks with its carrier aircraft, the Boeing 747 “Cosmic Girl,” and then begins pre-launch operations. Customer satellites are expected to be integrated into the rocket fairing from this week at the new Space Systems Integration Facility (SSIF) at Spaceport Cornwall.

The Cornwall launch is expected to be the UK’s first orbital space launch. The mission was originally targeted for last summer, and then septemberbut no launch window has been defined yet.

The mission will launch two cubesats which are a joint mission between the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in addition to other satellites for the government of oman and Space Forge.

Virgin Orbit has a number of other deals in the works to bring its air-launched LauncherOne rocket to spaceports around the world. The company has also entered into agreements with Brazil, Japan, Australia, Polandand South Korea.

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