Virgin Orbit’s transport aircraft, Cosmic Girl, took off from Mojave Aerospace Port in California on June 30, 2021. LauncherOne rockets were installed under the wings to perform the company’s “Tube Bell: Part 1” mission. (Image source: Virgin Orbit)
Orbit is preparing for the third launch this year, and will be more active in 2022.
The company conducted its second space flight on Wednesday (June 30) in less than six months, putting seven small satellites into orbit and performing a mission called the “tubular clock”. : Part 1, “After the first track of the first album released by Virgin Records, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.
Virgin Orbit is still analyzing data from “Tubular Bells: Part 1.” But early results indicate The flight was Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart (Dan Hart) told Space.com.
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If all goes well for the third flight, the company’s goal is to launch six missions in 2022 and increase the tempo significantly again in the second year.
“As we enter next year, we will speed up, mainly in our production team, just to speed up, we will at least double [launch] on the 23rd,” Hart said. The
Virgin Orbit uses a 70-foot-long (21-meter) rocket, called LauncherOne, capable of lifting 1,100 pounds. (500 kg) payload to earth orbit. LauncherOne takes off under the wing of a carrier aircraft named Cosmic Girl, and launches the rocket after reaching a predetermined position and altitude.
The airdrop system provides flexibility, efficiency and responsiveness, helping Virgin Orbital gain a foothold in the highly competitive small launch market, the company representative said. (Virgin Galactic, a partner company of the Virgin Group, is preparing to launch Branson and several other companies on a historic suborbital flight this weekend, which also used air launch systems.) So far,
Virgin Orbit’s two This successful space flight has taken off from the Mojave Aerospace Port in Southern California. But the company will soon expand its geographic portfolio; Hart said it plans to launch missions from Guam and the United Kingdom next year.
In addition, Brazil recently chose Virgin Orbit to take off from the Alcantara Launch Center on the country’s northern coast. Hart said the company is still seriously discussing starting from Japan, Australia and “the other six countries.” “This is a really exciting time.”
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He added that in the long term, Virgin Orbit’s goal is to deploy multiple 747 carriers around the world. This expanded infrastructure will achieve higher firing rates, which is what Virgin Orbit wants to achieve.
“We hope to release it every week or more,” Hart said. He added that
Virgin Orbit also plans to improve and upgrade its launch system to allow payloads to be transported to higher Earth orbits, the moon and other planets. In fact, a few years ago, the company formed a consortium with Polish satellite company SatRevolution (two of the earth observation satellites appeared in “Tube Clock: Part 1”) and researchers from Polish universities with the purpose of launching a CubeSat mission. Go to Mars in the next few years.
“We want to be part of the space economy, and we want to be accelerators to help achieve this transformation that is taking place,” Hart said.