Virgin Orbit launched a rocket carrying seven satellites from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port early Saturday morning at 1:49 AM ET (10:49PM native), marking the small satellite tv for pc launcher’s first profitable night time mission. The firm introduced the satellites into low Earth orbit with the assistance of its Boeing 747 provider plane referred to as Cosmic Girl, which had the LauncherOne rocket hooked up beneath one in every of its wings.
The mission, called Straight Up after a 1988 Paula Abdul track, concerned seven analysis satellites as a part of NASA’s Space Test Program. Like its earlier missions, Virgin Orbit propelled the satellites into area by having Cosmic Girl carry the LauncherOne rocket 35,000 toes above the bottom, giving it a headstart earlier than the rocket detaches and launches its payload into orbit. Virgin Orbit initially postponed the mission on Thursday after discovering that its rocket propellant temperature was “slightly out of bounds.”
Virgin Orbit has made 5 launch makes an attempt in complete, however solely failed as soon as throughout its first check flight in May 2020. It has been on a roll since first reaching orbit in January 2021, deploying a set of satellites into orbit in June 2021 and finishing yet one more mission earlier this 12 months. Virgin Orbit’s Straight Up mission is the corporate’s fourth profitable flight so far.
Virgin Orbit is owned by the British billionaire Richard Branson, and isn’t to be confused with Virgin Galactic, the corporate’s separate department for industrial spaceflight. The firm went public through a SPAC (particular goal acquisition firm) merger final 12 months. While it has accomplished all its launches from Southern California up to now, Virgin Orbit plans on taking off from Cornwall, England later this year.