Virgin Orbit Says Its Latest Rocket Is Ready For Flight

Virgin Orbit Says Its Latest Rocket Is Ready For Flight

October 5, 2022

Virgin Orbit announced that its latest rocket is now ready for flight after completing a full launch rehearsal.

The company said the launch permitting regulatory process will determine the window for the next launch, planned to be the first orbital space launch from the United Kingdom.

The launch rehearsal was the final major acceptance test of the rocket prior to mating to its carrier aircraft, which is an upcycled Boeing 747 dubbed “Cosmic Girl”, and beginning pre-launch operations.

Meanwhile, Virgin Orbit expects to begin the integration of customer satellites into the rocket’s fairing this week in the newly inaugurated Space Systems Integration Facility or SSIF at Spaceport Cornwall.

The company’s most recent rocket completed its full wet dress rehearsal on October 2, three months after the successful launch of its Straight Up mission.

According to the company, the launch from the Cornwall spaceport will demonstrate its ability to enable virtually any country to become a space faring nation.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit to operate from locations all over the world.

As an air-launched system, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne can turn nearly any airport into a spaceport. Once manufactured, integrated, and tested, a LauncherOne rocket can be sent off to any of a variety of locations for final preparation and launch.

In addition to bringing orbital launch to the UK for the first time, Virgin Orbit has announced collaborative efforts to bring its unique air launch system to the nations of Australia, Brazil, Japan, Poland, and the Republic of Korea.

To date, Virgin Orbit, which began commercial service in 2021, has delivered each of the thirty-three satellites it has carried precisely to its desired orbit.

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