Virgin Galactic's orbital plans

Grey Havoc

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British billionaire Richard Branson has sold about $300m in Virgin Galactic stock, tapping his biggest listed asset again to prop up his business empire during the pandemic.

The billionaire offloaded almost 10.5m shares - about 4pc of the space-travel company - through a company he controls, leaving him with an 18pc stake, according to a regulatory filing.

The proceeds will support Branson’s travel and leisure businesses, as well as help develop new and existing ventures, a Virgin Group representative said. Branson, 71, remains Virgin Galactic’s biggest shareholder.

The company’s shares fell more than 5pc in premarket trading in New York.
 

Michel Van

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news over Virgin Orbit next step

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steelpillow

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news over Virgin Orbit next step

That Launcher Two is a strange beastie. A space rocket with a high-aspect-ratio straight wing that flies slower than its swept-wing mothership. Maybe it is oblique-pivoting despite the apparent fixed fairing, but even so the 747's tail fin is likely to get in the way. I'd certainly agree it needs some "long-term technology development" to get that sorted out.
 

TomcatViP

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It doesn't even seems it can't be fitted under the fuselage as with deployable wings (or not) it looks to be fairly identical in dimension to their present launcher (remember Ryan Compas Arrow under the wing of a C-130).
I would guess that the marketing department opted for that configuration to highlight the configuration changes.

virginorbit-firstmate.jpg




virgin-orbit-drop-test.gif
 
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Michel Van

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That Launcher Two is a strange beastie. A space rocket with a high-aspect-ratio straight wing that flies slower than its swept-wing mothership. Maybe it is oblique-pivoting despite the apparent fixed fairing, but even so the 747's tail fin is likely to get in the way.
It seems that Launcher Two is to heavy for under Wing launch
That launch from back will be tricky but possible, see the Shuttle drop Test in 1970s

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHYhTFn45nU
 

steelpillow

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That launch from back will be tricky but possible, see the Shuttle drop Test in 1970s

The Shuttle had no engine for the tests. Melting the mothership's empennage is not an option here, either. Getting them to fire, at full throttle and with precise timing, has always been a problem. The risk is that the jockey craft will lose airspeed and fall back onto the mothership before it has manoeuvred clear. Simple dropping buys time and kinetic energy which are not available to the piggy-backed. Hence the Stratolaunch Roc still plans to drop things.
 

Grey Havoc

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Virgin Orbit working on "evolved" rocket. NASA's Stennis Space Center says it reached a Space Act Agreement with Virgin Orbit last November for testing of a new version of the company's Newton 3 engine (N3.2). Testing of the thrust chamber assembly for this upgraded engine on the E-1 Test Stand, Cell 1, began March 30 and lasted through July 20. A total of 87 hot fire tests were performed during the testing period, with a combined test time of 974 seconds.

Design changes will appear in the Newton 3 engine ... "Virgin Orbit has been working with the Stennis test team since late 2020 on a variety of complex, engine-related activities," said Tom Alexiou, program manager for Virgin Orbit's evolved launch vehicle. "Their support of us has been exemplary in all facets of the program. We continue to maintain an excellent working relationship and look forward to our latest N3.2 engine development testing program that will take us into 2022." We'll try to get more details about performance upgrades for this "evolved" version of LauncherOne.

 

Flyaway

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