Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket paired with ‘Cosmic Girl’ 747 aircraft at Long Beach AirportRelease Date: 2018-10-26
By: Hunter Lee
Virgin Orbit, a division of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, for the first time this week attached its LauncherOne rocket to a customized 747 airplane at Long Beach Airport — part of a plan to have a mobile launch site for small satellites going into space.
Traditionally, rockets have lifted off from grounded launch pads. But the LauncherOne rocket will instead be carried aloft by a customized aircraft dubbed the Cosmic Girl.
Once it’s operational, Virgin Orbit’s system will be the world’s first concierge launch service. Virgin will tailor each mission to the customer’s specific needs. The benefits of the air-launching method also include: freeing missions from traffic jams at existing launch sites; eliminating the need for costly, grounded launch pads; and providing a more resilient system to combat unfavorable weather conditions.
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