Virgin Orbit launches Boeing 747 rocket into the air to send satellites into space

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit successfully used its unique in-flight launch system to send commercial satellites in orbit for the first time on Wednesday morning.

Cosmic Girl, a modified version Boeing 747, took off with the 70-foot, 57,000-pound LauncherOne rocket under its left wing around 7 a.m. from Mojave Air and Spaceport in California.

The LauncherOne rocket was launched about 35,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, tumbling down its first stage at 8,000 mph before its second stage fires up and propels it to 17,500 mph.

The rocket eventually released seven satellites for the Defense Ministry’s space testing program, the Polish SatRevolution satellite, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Virgin Orbit hopes the unique in-flight launch system will allow them to regularly launch satellites into space on short notice.

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This is the second successful launch of Virgin Orbit this year after the company carried a group of satellites for NASA into orbit in January.

Sister company of Virgin Orbit, Galactic Virgo, received the green light from the Federal Aviation Administration to carry passengers into space last week.

Branson will likely be beaten in space by another billionaire astronaut-in-training Jeff Bezos, who plans to go to space with his brother and a $ 28 million mystery bidder aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket on July 20.

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Meanwhile, Branson said after Virgin Orbit’s satellite launch on Wednesday that his first space flight was still in the air.

“All I can say is that when the engineers tell me I can go to space, I’m ready, fit and healthy to go,” Branson told Associated press. “Then we’ll see.”


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