Virgin Orbit Preparing for Dutch Satellite Launch for the Air Force

5th Feb 2021
Innovative Solutions in Space

Virgin Orbit, an aerospace company and launch provider, has announced that they have been picked by a Dutch space engineering company, Innovative Solutions in Space, to launch a Dutch satellite for the Royal Netherland’s Air Force. The CubeSat BRIK-II is the first Dutch satellite designed by this Dutch based company for the Royal Netherland’s Air Force (RNLAF). The upcoming mission is a significant step for Virgin Orbit and Innovative Solutions in Space since the satellite will test various scenarios of how space capabilities can serve military and defence. 

When Will Virgin Orbit’s Dutch Satellite Launch Take Place?

Right now, BRIK-II is scheduled to launch in 2021. The satellite will be used to conduct communications experience, with a strong emphasis on responsive launch. Named in honor of the first Dutch airplane Brik, the satellite should provide valuable data for RNLAF. 

LauncherOne, a rocket designed and developed by Virgin Orbit, will also carry cargo from the US Department of Defense (DOD) as part of their Space Test Program. The military test mission scheduled for 2021 will open up new opportunities for the US and the Netherlands’ joint collaboration and will help both countries explore space capabilities for the military. 

Since the rideshare mission aims to test a responsive launch system, the payload will be loaded shortly before the launch. This exercise will serve as a test of late-land integration and may prove critical in fine-tuning payload processing capabilities. Virgin Orbit and RNLAF plan to document the results of this exercise and analyze them in a whitepaper. 

The mission will take place from the Virgin Orbit launch site in Mojave Air and Space Port, California. Both RNLAF and Virgin Orbit are excited about this opportunity to test new capabilities. According to RNLAF commander Lt. Gen Dennis Luyt, launching the first-ever Dutch satellite benefits the country as a whole. Moreover, responsive launch capability is the future of space delivery, and the company is happy to become one of the tech’s pioneers.

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart is also optimistic about the upcoming mission. The company is particularly excited to offer the Netherlands and the US a chance to leverage a flexible and mobile launch system. Virgin Orbit CEO believes that their LauncherOne fills the gap for government launches and hopes that a Dutch satellite will become the first payload in a series of successful rideshare missions. 

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