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Virgin’s rocket reaches orbit for the first time, deploys satellites

Virgin’s rocket reaches orbit for the first time, deploys satellites

Virgin Orbit has successfully launched its rocket to space, 8 months after the 1st demonstration flight of its air-launched rocket system failed. The rocket was released from beneath the wing of Virgin Orbit’s customized Boeing 747, off the coast of California Sunday. The payload included 9 missions from NASA and several universities, most of which were launching CubeSats and other tiny orbiters

Sandra
Sandra
M. Schlegel
M. Schlegel 0 months

To those that don't know why to use airplanes as launchpads: Primarily to get any inclination. If you want to orbit the earth along the equator, you must launch from the equator (or burn insane amounts of additional fuel to change your orbit). That's why many launch facilities are quite close to the equator, both Russia and USA have their facilities in their southern regions and Europe launches from French oversea territories to get closer. From an airplane you can launch from where ever you want. Additionally the plane obviously is a kind of "weak but extremely reusable first stage" that gives you additional speed and helps you climb out of a good portion of that nasty atmosphere which otherwise produces so much drag. That could be a viable option in the smallsat market. If you want it as cheap as possible, you buy a rideshare on a SpaceX rocket. But on rideshares your orbit needs to be close to the orbit of the main payload. You want a different orbit? Virgin Orbit might be the best option for you.

ConcealCarryProtect
ConcealCarryProtect 1 months

Take me with you.

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