• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Virgin Galactic's orbital plans

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Virgin Orbit Readies For Boeing 747 'Cosmic Girl' Flight Test Build-Up

Long Beach -- Virgin Orbit's modified Boeing 747-400 carrier aircraft, Cosmic Girl, is being readied for a series of ground and flight tests in the build-up towards captive carry evaluations of the company’s LauncherOne small satellite launch vehicle. The initial ground test phase will begin in early August and follows delivery of the former Virgin Atlantic Airways 747 to the company's Long Beach, California headquarters on July 31. The aircraft arrived after completing final ...

http://m.aviationweek.com/space/virgin-orbit-readies-boeing-747-cosmic-girl-flight-test-build
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Virgin Orbit - Cosmic Girl Flight Test

Virgin Orbit
Published on Sep 21, 2017


All of our flights to space with LauncherOne will start with our flying launch pad, a Boeing 747-400 named Cosmic Girl. Cosmic Girl is already active in our rigorous flight test program. Recently, our friends at Virgin Galactic captured some fun air-to-air footage of Cosmic Girl in the skies above Mojave. Thanks also to our friends at Virgin Atlantic for taking such great care of Cosmic Girl when she was a baby!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6O0A8qUgaA
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Saudi Arabia investment in our space companies

Change is happening on a number of fronts in Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud has started to loosen societal restrictions and encourage a more progressive stance on areas such as women’s rights. There have been small steps to date but he is committed to bringing about these modern changes.

At the same time, the Crown Prince is making some bold economic moves as he guides the Kingdom away from its dependence on oil. On Tuesday he announced plans for a $500 billion new city in the north of the Kingdom and today I’m pleased to announce the intention of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), pending approval by the US government, to invest approximately $1 billion into our US based space companies, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit.

This is exciting news for our companies. For our wonderful staff, customers and partners, this investment is a sign of confidence from the international investment community that our vision, our approach and our technology are the right path to commercialising space access. Both VSS Unity and LauncherOne are poised to reach significant technical milestones in the run-up to launch, and we are eager to build out R&D and our US facilities to support next generation vehicles and services.

We are now just months away from Virgin Galactic sending people into space and Virgin Orbit placing satellites around the Earth. This investment will enable us to develop the next generation of human spaceflight, more economic satellite launches and accelerate our programme for trans-continental point-to-point space travel. It also includes the possibility to develop a space-centric entertainment industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We will remain majority shareholders, and our companies will remain firmly rooted in Virgin brand values and based in southern California and New Mexico.

It is also exciting news for the people of Saudi Arabia. As I wrote before, it is time of transformational change in the country’s history thanks to Crown Prince and his bold Vision 2030. The country is putting its oil wealth into growing other sectors such as education, entertainment, tourism, and future forward technology.

Their wish to invest in our space technology is positive progress of the larger societal transformation the Crown Prince seeks to bring to his country and citizens.

We look forward to welcoming KSA as our partners in opening access to space to change the world for good.
https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/saudi-arabia-investment-our-space-companies?amp
 

TomS

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
3,177
Reaction score
101
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
Any idea why they ditched the wing one sees on Pegasus?
Might actually be lighter to go with a vectored thrust engine on the first stage, eliminating the need for a wing.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
11,798
Reaction score
201
TomS said:
sferrin said:
blackstar said:
Any idea why they ditched the wing one sees on Pegasus?
Might actually be lighter to go with a vectored thrust engine on the first stage, eliminating the need for a wing.
Was that not an option on Pegasus? ???
 

TomS

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
3,177
Reaction score
101
Clearly it was an option, since the second stage uses TVC and is very similar to the first stage in other respects. But they decided in that specific application, the wing was better. I can't find a good reference, but my recollection is that the case for using a wing on Pegasus is fairly marginal. It's possible that newer technology has changed that, or that the launch parameters for the new system are enough different to eliminate the need.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
11,798
Reaction score
201
TomS said:
Clearly it was an option, since the second stage uses TVC and is very similar to the first stage in other respects. But they decided in that specific application, the wing was better. I can't find a good reference, but my recollection is that the case for using a wing on Pegasus is fairly marginal. It's possible that newer technology has changed that, or that the launch parameters for the new system are enough different to eliminate the need.
I just remember at the time Orbital singing praises about the "revolutionary" wing. One would have got the impression that the benefits were pretty significant. (Maybe moreso in the Marketing dept. than in reality?)
 

Motocar

I really should change my personal text
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
587
Reaction score
28
Excuse the off topic ...! A direct predecessor of these initiatives. I am interested in knowing if any of the friends of the forum will have the Popular Mechanis magazine of June 1981 in its English edition (the edition corresponds to the edition in Spanish and was published in September 1981, page 51) in which it was published This article of what looks like the cone of a V2 rocket with a seat
 

Attachments

Orionblamblam

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
7,317
Reaction score
182
Website
www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com

antigravite

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
673
Reaction score
11
blackstar said:
Hi,

Launching an orbital rocket from a modified B747 has been around for awhile. Among others, back in 2003, this option was under high scrutiny by Rafael, Israel's Armament authority, to propose a responsive minisat launcher, based on their Black Sparrow system.

A.
 

Motocar

I really should change my personal text
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
587
Reaction score
28
Orionblamblam said:
Motocar said:
Excuse the off topic ...! A direct predecessor of these initiatives. I am interested in knowing if any of the friends of the forum will have the Popular Mechanis magazine of June 1981 in its English edition
https://archive.org/stream/PopularMechanics1981/Popular_Mechanics_06_1981#page/n0/mode/2up


what looks like the cone of a V2 rocket with a seat
Looks like Truax's Volksrocket.
Uppss...! Published in Popular Mechanics March 1981 page 146

https://youtu.be/jXp1fqahg1Q

https://youtu.be/dS3ht4EZRmM
 

Attachments

Motocar

I really should change my personal text
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
587
Reaction score
28
Thanks Orionblamblam for the link:

https://archive.org/stream/PopularMechanics1981/Popular_Mechanics_03_1981#page/n0/mode/2up

Page # 146
 

Attachments

blackstar

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,682
Reaction score
12
antigravite said:
Launching an orbital rocket from a modified B747 has been around for awhile. Among others, back in 2003, this option was under high scrutiny by Rafael, Israel's Armament authority, to propose a responsive minisat launcher, based on their Black Sparrow system.
I would bet it goes back a lot farther. Did Orbital ever consider it for the Pegasus back in the 1980s or did they go straight to the L-1011? One downside of airliners is that they have wings mounted at the bottom of the fuselage, limiting the size of the load. The Air Launched Sortie Vehicle proposal of the early 1980s would have mounted a rocket atop a 747. Transport planes like the C-5 with a high-mounted wing have advantages. There have been other, more recent proposals for mounting the rocket on top of the 747.

Air-launch is just less attractive than you'd think. Intuitively it seems like a good idea, but the disadvantages eat away at the few advantages. For example, will Virgin Galactic save enough money by using a 747 considering that it burns fuel, requires maintenance, and has other costs like certification? Granted, Virgin Airlines operates other 747s and can spread out some of that cost because this one will simply be part of a fleet, not a one-off vehicle. But it remains to be seen how competitive they'll be.
 

TomS

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
3,177
Reaction score
101
blackstar said:
I would bet it goes back a lot farther. Did Orbital ever consider it for the Pegasus back in the 1980s or did they go straight to the L-1011? One downside of airliners is that they have wings mounted at the bottom of the fuselage, limiting the size of the load. The Air Launched Sortie Vehicle proposal of the early 1980s would have mounted a rocket atop a 747. Transport planes like the C-5 with a high-mounted wing have advantages. There have been other, more recent proposals for mounting the rocket on top of the 747.
The 747 was one of the options studied in 1991, when they opted for an L1011. The other main options were the DC-10 and a B-52G (I imagine there would be treaty issues with a commercially owned B-52!).

The analysis of alternatives is mentioned briefly in the following report.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2684&context=smallsat
 

Byeman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
749
Reaction score
2
The L1011 was chosen because it had twin keel spars and the vertical stabilizer of the Pegasus could go between them.
 

antigravite

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
673
Reaction score
11
TomS said:
blackstar said:
I would bet it goes back a lot farther. Did Orbital ever consider it for the Pegasus back in the 1980s or did they go straight to the L-1011? One downside of airliners is that they have wings mounted at the bottom of the fuselage, limiting the size of the load. The Air Launched Sortie Vehicle proposal of the early 1980s would have mounted a rocket atop a 747. Transport planes like the C-5 with a high-mounted wing have advantages. There have been other, more recent proposals for mounting the rocket on top of the 747.
The 747 was one of the options studied in 1991, when they opted for an L1011. The other main options were the DC-10 and a B-52G (I imagine there would be treaty issues with a commercially owned B-52!).

The analysis of alternatives is mentioned briefly in the following report.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2684&context=smallsat
wow thx!

A.
 

fredymac

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,423
Reaction score
59
Launch at mid year if no hiccups or money shortages. Main financial backer is government of Abu Dhabi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YV7ZsoaLo4

Newtron 3 is main stage engine producing 75,000lbs thrust.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epIB4cqKDT4

Newtron 4 is 2nd stage engine producing 5,000lbs thrust.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYImjgBF2oM

Fairing test
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONv98FWW1hM
 

Michel Van

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
4,194
Reaction score
68
I have only one question

In October is 14 years ago that Space Ship One flew first time
Were is Space Ship Two commercial flights ?
 

Silencer1

That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
533
Reaction score
28
Michel Van said:
I have only one question

In October is 14 years ago that Space Ship One flew first time
Were is Space Ship Two commercial flights ?
Just ask Elon Musk! :cool:

More seriously, it's a good question.

Looks, like unlike of SpaceX, Virgin didn't so clearly seen the future and their own possibilities. Instead of targeting rich persons, which want to be short-time space tourists, more money comes from the conquering of world's satellite launch market. Who could imagine, that private company could do successful, frequent, reliable launches by it's own rocket? Not me :cool:

From other hand, the appearance of private space companies decades ago have been a trend, that continues now. Some of them succeed, some - not.

Curiously, I remember another Virgin's cool design - Virgin Oceanic submarine. Very promising, and stopped in development. Of course, it has been a real engineering challenge, but without success.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
2,257
Reaction score
82
Musk is far, far more serious than Branson. Branson is a good car salesman, but as far as engineering goes, he is a total loss. Branson likes partying, alcohol, drugs, chicks, and hype, and giant adds for Virgin.
 

Michel Van

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
4,194
Reaction score
68
Archibald said:
Musk is far, far more serious than Branson. Branson is a good car salesman, but as far as engineering goes, he is a total loss. Branson likes partying, alcohol, drugs, chicks, and hype, and giant adds for Virgin.
Next to that Branson enjoy record-breaking attempts or guest starred in Movies or TV series, Game shows, usually playing himself...

...one moment Musk and serious ?

First Day at SpaceX


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCKRGfqeaBg

oh by way...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CsQLIMXMI4
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
2,257
Reaction score
82
The picture with the mariachis always killed me.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Virgin Orbit ready LauncherOne rocket for maiden flight

Virgin Orbit is just months away from the first launch of its LauncherOne rocket. The company is currently undergoing an extensive test campaign to ensure that the vehicle will function correctly on its maiden flight.
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/06/virgin-orbit-launcherone-maiden-flight/
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Virgin Orbit wins FAA license for first LauncherOne mission

Virgin Orbit has received a license from the Federal Aviation Administration for the first launch of its LauncherOne vehicle, which the company hopes to perform later this summer.

The FAA issued the license June 29 for the first launch of the air-launch system, using the LauncherOne rocket flown from a customized Boeing 747 that takes off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The payload for that launch is identified as a “mass simulator with CubeSat,” but doesn’t specify the identity of the cubesat or cubesats that will fly on the mission.

The FAA license is for a reusable launch vehicle (RLV), even though LauncherOne itself is expendable. The Boeing 747 used as the launch platform is reused, but Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus rocket, which is also an air-launched system, is licensed as an expendable launch vehicle by the FAA.
http://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-wins-faa-license-for-first-launcherone-mission/
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Virgin Orbit performs LauncherOne aircraft flight tests

The carrier aircraft for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system has performed a series of test flights in preparation for upcoming flights with the rocket attached.

The flights of the company’s Boeing 747 aircraft, nicknamed “Cosmic Girl,” were the first since the company installed a pylon on the plane’s left wing that will be used to carry the LauncherOne rocket on future flights of the air-launch system.
https://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-performs-launcherone-aircraft-flight-tests/
 

NUSNA_Moebius

I really should change my personal text
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
120
Reaction score
6
Takes advantage of the spare engine mount structure right?
 

Zootycoon

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
155
Reaction score
88
Yes - it’s on the same hard point.

The tyres right next to a thin skin lox tank.....oh dear. How will they ever cert that considering the accepted
probability of a wheel/tire failure? It won’t even come close to normal standards for an acceptable total aircraft loss model.

Without a rocket in the tire debris zone, it’s a considerable effort to justify the wheel and tyre failure certification criteria.... and it normally dictates the location of key equipment required to maintain safe flight outside of the debris zone.
 

antigravite

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
673
Reaction score
11
More pictures here:

https://www.space.com/16532-virgin-galactic-launcherone-rocket-images.html

A.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne Rocket Mated to 'Cosmic Girl'

VideoFromSpace
Published on Oct 26, 2018

On Oct. 24, 2018, Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket was mated to its 'Cosmic Girl' carrier plane for the first time. The rocket can carry a 300 pound (660 kg) satellite into Sun-synchronous orbit at speeds over 17,500 mph.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R4w4FTLtAA
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Virgin Orbit - First Captive Carry Flight


Virgin Orbit
Published on Nov 19, 2018

On November 18th, 2018, a new sight appeared in the baby-blue skies over Southern California: A specially modified 747-400 carrying a 70-foot-long rocket under its wing soared through the air as part of a successful test flight for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne. Sir Richard Branson’s small satellite launch company completed a flawless test flight, proving that its carbon-fiber two-stage rocket works perfectly as a pair with Cosmic Girl, the customized former passenger aircraft that serves as the company’s “flying launch pad.” The successful test puts more air under the wings—and fins—of the company’s plans to reach orbit in early 2019.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Z8nDShFes
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
11,798
Reaction score
201
90 km not 90k feet.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
239
Video on the link below.

https://twitter.com/virgin_orbit/status/1107713439206563840

LauncherOne's first stage lit up our Mojave test site on Friday for the first hot-fire in our final series of full-scale, integrated system tests.
 
Top