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Virgin Galactic's orbital plans

TomS

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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

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FighterJock

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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

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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

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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

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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.”
 
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