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Monday, April 13, 2020

Virgin Orbit finishes all tests before launch!

On Sunday, satellite launcher Virgin Orbit did an intricate dress rehearsal of how it plans to launch rockets into space — without actually sending any rockets anywhere. The successful demonstration potentially paves the way for the company’s first test launch sometime this year.
Virgin Orbit will launch small satellites for the UK military ...

Instead of launching its vehicles vertically from the ground — like most other rocket companies — Virgin Orbit plans to launch them from midair. The company has developed a small rocket called LauncherOne, which is designed to take off from under the wing of the company’s giant 747 airplane nicknamed Cosmic Girl. 
Virgin Orbit has been going through a rigorous test program before its first launch — a process that has entailed testing LauncherOne’s engines on the ground, doing periodic flights with Cosmic Girl, and more. The company has also been doing incremental demonstration missions with both the rocket and the plane. 
During Sunday’s flight, Virgin Orbit ran through every part of the process of launching LauncherOne without the actual takeoff. The company filled LauncherOne up with liquid nitrogen, which is similar in temperature to the extremely cold liquid oxygen propellant the rocket will carry when it’s set to fly.

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