Virgin Orbit Makes Progress in its Plans to Launch Small Satellites from Guam

9th Sep 2021
Virgin Orbit Makes Progress in its Plans to Launch Small Satellites from Guam

Guam, a US territory in the Western Pacific, might soon experience some satellite launches. All this is in line with the plans by Virgin Orbit to use this island soon. The company recently completed an environmental review and is waiting to hear back from the FAA.

However, it’s worth noting that the environmental review is only a step towards this goal. Even with it, the FAA might not permit them to proceed. On 27th August, the FAA released a final assessment on the environmental impact of the Virgin Orbit satellites launch.

The environmental review concluded there wouldn’t be any significant impact of the company’s use of its Boeing 747-400 carrier. The carrier will work with the LauncherOne in Guam from the AAFB (Anderson Air Force Base).

Virgin Orbit Intends to Launch 25 Times in 5 Years

The FAA revealed the plans by Virgin Orbit over the next 5 years. It wants to conduct 25 events that will deliver smallsats to LEO (Lower Earth Orbit). Completing the environmental review brings this vision closer, but it’s only part of it. For Virgin Orbit satellites launch to take place, the business must also meet the financial and safety requirements set by the FAA.

Still, the review is seen as a crucial step forward, as expressed by the Vice President of Special Projects at Virgin Orbit, William Pomerantz. He stated they’ve been in constant dialogue with the FAA to see the process through. The company’s goal will be to deliver small (up to 500 kgs) satellites to LEO. The progress follows a successful launch back in January by Virgin Orbit.

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