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

Virgin Galactic's orbital plans

TomS

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
3,277
Reaction score
154
All Nippon Airways brings Virgin Orbit to Asia

The parent company of All Nippon Airways will partner with air launch company Virgin Orbit by granting it access to the fleets of Japan's largest airline to send small satellites into orbit with its wing-carried LauncherOne rockets.
Press release here: http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=54140

Seems like the initial cooperation would probably take the form of ANA providing maintenance and ground support equipment to Virgin Orbit's 747 Cosmic Girl for launches staged out of an airport/spaceport in Japan. They will also evaluate the possibility of adapting ANA aircraft as additional launchers, but that would depend on there being sufficient demand to support more than one aircraft.
 

Vahe Demirjian

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
440
Reaction score
141

FighterJock

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
1,074
Reaction score
34
Any idea as to what the payload is going to be for the LauncherOne Flight 1?
Gunter's Space Page (https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_chr/lau2019.htm) lists a CubeSat simulator as the payload for the planned first launch of the LauncherOne rocket.
Thanks for the info Vahe, and the website link.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
362

Virgin Orbit

Published on 11 Jul 2019

This week’s successful drop test is a huge, huge deal for our team. It represents the last major step of a development program we began in 2015, focused not just on designing a rocket but proving it out alongside the modified 747 that serves as our flying launchpad.

It’s impossible to quantify how much effort and joy and frustration and brainpower we’ve poured into developing LauncherOne — but perhaps this footage can inspire in you the same passion we have for this incredible project.

The LauncherOne story is just getting started. To stay in the loop as Virgin Orbit prepares for our first flight to space, follow us on Twitter (@Virgin_Orbit), Facebook (@VirginOrbit), Instagram (@Virgin.Orbit) and LinkedIn — or sign up for our monthly newsletter (https://virg.in/newsletter), chock full of technical updates and small satellite news from around the world.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
362
Virgin Orbit has announced a new partnership with the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. A new RAF project, named ARTEMIS, has selected Virgin Orbit for launch services beginning as early as late 2020.
The goal of ARTEMIS (not to be confused with the American human spaceflight program of the same name) is to demonstrate responsive launch of small satellites to support the RAF and allied forces. The program was created to make use of commercial innovation in order to operate in space quickly, in response to an “evolving space landscape.” ARTEMIS missions will be procured with very short notice: as little time as a week prior to launch. This differs from standard launch procurement timelines which usually extend over years of planning.
These missions will utilize Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, and take advantage of their Boeing 747-400 carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl. The air-launched system offers several benefits, such as flexible launch sites, access to any orbital inclination, and weather avoidance. Air launch enables agile launch capabilities not offered by other systems, which are often constrained to ground based launch sites with limited inclination options and frequent weather challenges.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
362
Each launch in the Artemis project will be conducted with short call-ups, with Virgin Orbit possibly receiving as little as a week’s notice, the company said. “This is vastly faster than today’s standards for launches which must typically be planned years in advance and which operate from launch sites that are only capable of accessing a narrow range of orbits.” The company noted that it is today nearly impossible to guarantee access to any given orbit on short notice.

“We are hopeful that by demonstrating the capability to quickly and easily deploy and replace satellites in low Earth orbit we will be helping to remove the incentive for any nation to invest the money in harming another nation’s satellite,” said Dan Hart, president and CEO of Virgin Orbit.

Air Vice-Marshal ‘Rocky’ Rochelle, chief of staff of the Royal Air Force, said: “If a satellite in orbit can no longer perform its function, or if a new need emerges, we need to launch within days, if not hours. And it’s not sufficient to launch to just any orbit; we need to place the satellite into the orbit where it is needed.”
 

Motocar

I really should change my personal text
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
608
Reaction score
38
Next cutaway drawing in progress... Robert Truax`s project spaceship "Enterprise"
 
Last edited:

Motocar

I really should change my personal text
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
608
Reaction score
38
Next cutaway drawing in progress... Robert Truax`s project spaceship "Enterprise"
Sure this is in the right thread? :)

Randy

It's just the announcement, since this topic has been commented on the work of the engineer and retired Captain Robert Truax and his X-3 Enterprise rocket project

The cutaway drawing will be published in the Artwork-Motocar cutaways section, thank you for your observation and comment. Motocar
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
362
Virgin Orbit, while preparing for the first flight of its LauncherOne smallsat rocket, is in the process of choosing an engine for a three-stage variant that would be capable of sending payloads to other planets.
John Fuller, Virgin Orbit advanced concepts director, said the company is deciding between three “highly energetic third stage” options for LauncherOne that would enable the rocket to launch up to 50 kilograms to Mars or 70 kilograms to Venus. The “Exploration 3-Stage Variant” of LauncherOne would also have the ability to launch around 100 kilograms to the moon or toward Lagrange points, he said.
“What we do is we take that third stage and bring the overall impulse of the vehicle up to a point where we can reach very high energies to launch to cis-lunar, interplanetary or even asteroid targets,” Fuller said Oct. 24 at the 70th International Astronautical Congress here.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
362
EXPANDING OUR ORBIT

OCTOBER 31, 2019

As we entered into the new millennium, bright innovators started harnessing improvements in technology to squeeze more and more capabilities into smaller satellite payloads. Due to their low cost and short manufacturing times, these early smallsats were an excellent educational tool for university students. These days, the world can see that small satellites are transforming the way we approach almost all of our activities in space. And what’s more, inventive minds are devising new ways to use this technology to accomplish ever bigger and bolder missions.

Now, that even includes missions to deep space.

In May 2018, NASA’s InSight mission launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to begin its long, 35 million-mile journey to the Red Planet. The InSight lander is a marvelous piece of technology, enabling us to learn more about Mars’ weather, surface and subsurface than ever before. But what really caught our attention was the lander’s tiny escorts — a pair of briefcase-sized communications spacecraft known collectively as Mars Cube One (MarCO).

When InSight burst through Mars’ upper atmosphere at more than 12,000 miles per hour, it was MarCO-A and MarCO-B that filled a critical communications gap by relaying the lander’s data all the way back to Earth. For the first time, humans had used CubeSat technology for an interplanetary mission, and it was wildly successful (and cost-effective, to boot). You couldn’t ask for a better experimental demonstration.

Watching MarCO got us thinking — and our customers, too. That inspiration dovetailed with a steady stream of interest we’ve gotten from customers interested in using smallsats to support the renewed interest in the exploration of the Moon. That led us to think about whether LauncherOne would be able to send payloads large enough to be meaningful to places beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

As it turns out, the answer is yes. With the addition of a third stage housed within the rocket’s fairing, LauncherOne can send cutting-edge satellites on a ride past LEO into deep space. We’ve run the numbers, and we think we’ve got a solid engineering plan for ways to use a third stage to launch payloads not only into LEO, MEO, and GEO, but even towards the Moon, any of the Earth-Moon LaGrange points, various main-belt asteroids, Venus, or Mars.

With this simple adaptation, LauncherOne unlocks the ability to deliver enough mass to interplanetary destinations to conduct some really valuable smallsat missions, whether that’s studying the potential for extraterrestrial life or learning more about the chemical composition of far-flung worlds.

We’re thrilled to announce this new capability in support of our first interplanetary mission, which we unveiled earlier this month. This consortium is an important first step toward something the world has yet to see: a dedicated commercial small satellite mission to Mars.

And based on the interest we’ve seen since, similarly-sized missions to Venus and to asteroids like 433 Eros or even larger missions to the Moon won’t be far behind.

It’s inspiring to see NewSpace companies like SatRevolution pave the way forward with their ambitions for deep space small satellite missions. Our goal is to ensure their ideas and business plans aren’t throttled by a lack of affordable launch options.

We love to see these new and inspiring ideas. Satellite innovators of the world, keep them coming! Although we suspect the overwhelming number of our flights will be putting satellites into Earth orbit, we’re inspired to see the horizon extending out further than it ever has before. As our customers raise the bar on what they hope to achieve with small satellites, we’re gearing up to do exactly the same. [/quote]

 
Top