Virgin Orbit Prepares for Another LauncherOne Mission “Tubular Bells, Part One”17th Jun 2021
Virgin Orbit is getting ready for another launch of its LauncherOne carrier. The company is part of Virgin Group and has already successfully tested its air-launch technology. Along with developing advanced aerospace vehicles and sending manned space missions, the company also helps small satellites make their way into space.
What is the LauncherOne?
LauncherOne is a two-staged space launch vehicle that can carry a maximum payload of 300 kgs into Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO). Back on 17th January 2021, LauncherOne reached Earth’s orbit and successfully deployed 10 CubeSats.
This Virgin Orbit launch vehicle is currently at the Mojave Air and Space Port. It sits attached to the left wing of the Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl, where further tests will be carried out before its next space mission.
Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne are two essential components of Virgin Orbit’s unique air-launch technology. Cosmic Girl is a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Virgin Galactic received this aircraft from Virgin Atlantic to use it as a Virgin Orbit launch vehicle. The purpose of acquiring this spacecraft was to be used as a first stage and a launch platform.
The Next Virgin Orbit Launch
Before LauncherOne is scheduled for its next launch, it has to go under different tests. The first integrated test includes experimenting with how the rocket performs once it is filled with cryogenic propellants to maximum capacity. This test will help scientists detect any tank leakage, nominal pressurisation under 100% fuel capacity, and others.
Once the tests are done, the LauncherOne will be ready for its next mission this June, where it will carry both defense and commercial CubeSats. The upcoming Virgin Orbit launch mission for LauncherOne is entitled “Tubular Bells, Part One” and will have vast media coverage on the company’s official social media channels.