Virgin Orbit launches the first commercial payload to space

Glenn Beltz / Wikipedia

Virgin Orbit conducted the first commercial launch of its air-launched LauncherOne rocket.

The launch, conducted on June 30, 2021, has been made with the help of the Cosmic Girl, Virgin’s (VAH) modified Boeing 747-400.

The customers were the US Department of Defense, the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and SatRevolution, a Poland-based company that is developing a constellation of earth observation satellites.

Seven minutes after the separation of the aircraft and the rocket, the company announced that the mission was successful.

In total, seven satellites – including CubeSat sets – were deployed.

LauncherOne is a two-stage rocket which can carry payloads of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) into low Earth orbit. It is air-launched, which means that the company’s Boeing 747 carries it to the launch altitude of approximately 10,000 meters (33,000 feet).

The rocket has been in development since 2007. Its first experimental launch was conducted in January 2021.


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