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  [Discuss] Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-11-2012 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topic Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne satellite launcher focused on status updates, reader's feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss the Virgin Orbit's air-launched small-satellite launcher that combines the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft with a two-stage rocket.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-02-2017 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Galactic release
Welcome, Virgin Orbit!

Our world class team has been steadily and diligently building capabilities in three related areas: human spaceflight operations; small satellite launch; and advanced aerospace design, manufacturing, and test. To remain leaders in these three fields, we have grown our organizational structure to match the industry landscape. Focused companies produce excellent outcomes, and while a diversified service set might be great in some fields, we want to grow in each of these areas that support each of these categories.

Effective today, our family of space companies numbers three. As with before, Virgin Galactic will be our commercial human spaceflight services provider and The Spaceship Company will continue to offer design, manufacturing and testing services to build vehicles for Virgin Galactic. And our small satellite LauncherOne team will become our newest company: Virgin Orbit.

Virgin Orbit will be led by President Dan Hart, who joins Virgin Orbit after a distinguished 34 years at Boeing, where he was responsible for all of the company's satellite programs for the US government and several allied countries. As Boeing's Vice President of Government Satellite Systems, he led efforts in all phases of the aerospace product life cycle, from R&D through development, production and flight operations, and has supported numerous space launch missions across human spaceflight, satellite development, launch vehicle development, and missile defense.

Virgin Orbit is the third company in Virgin Group's commercial space portfolio, Galactic Ventures, led by CEO George T. Whitesides and owned by the Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS. Our three companies are developing world-leading aerospace products and services in the following categories, each contributing to our shared vision of opening space to change the world for good.

Galactic Ventures CEO George T. Whitesides: "Virgin Orbit will lead the world in responsive, affordable, dedicated launch for small satellites. Our new organizational structure positions each Virgin space company to achieve its full potential while remaining true to our shared purpose of opening space to all. It is a testament to the Virgin Orbit team that we start this chapter with our newest space company led by an exceptional individual like Dan."

Virgin Orbit President Dan Hart: "The Virgin Galactic team has been boldly blazing the trail in a rapidly evolving space industry and I am thrilled to join the team. In 34 years at Boeing, I've had the honor to work on some of the most iconic and successful space programs in history including the Space Shuttle, the Delta launch program and satellite systems that have connected the world and protected our nation. Along the way, I've been privileged to work alongside incredibly talented engineers and industry leaders who have contributed to my own approach to innovation in space systems. The perfect next challenge is to lead Virgin Orbit's entrepreneurial team through a transformative time for not only Virgin Orbit but also the industry. To me, the Virgin brand is about making life on Earth better, and we are going to fulfill that purpose by accessing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to connect billions of people and enabling valuable applications of data from space through Virgin Orbit's flexible, affordable, and reliable launch service."

In the coming months, we will share more details, launch new websites and unveil Virgin Orbit's new brand identity. In the meantime, please join Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company in welcoming our newest company, Virgin Orbit!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-07-2017 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Orbit video release
LauncherOne is powered by two rocket engines — a single NewtonThree on the main stage and a single NewtonFour on the upper stage. Both engines are turbopump-fed, gas generator cycle, LOX/RP-1 engines developed in-house here at Virgin Orbit.

Here's a typical test of the NewtonFour on our test stand up in Mojave, CA, in which the engine runs for a full six minutes — the same duration it would run during a full orbital launch. By popular demand, we're posting this in real time — all six minutes of rockety goodness!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-24-2018 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Orbit on Twitter:
CosmicGirl, meet LauncherOne. LauncherOne, meet Cosmic Girl. We think you'll be friends!

We're conducting some fit checks now with our dedicated smallsat launch vehicle and our 747 flying launch pad. It's a beautiful day here in Long Beach!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-24-2018 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Orbit on Twitter:
You've seen photos of our rocket. You’ve flown on 747s. But it's hard to fully appreciate the scale of our flexible, affordable satellite launch system until you see our vehicles together! For the first time, here are images of LauncherOne under the wing of CosmicGirl.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2018 10:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Orbit video
Zoom, zoom, zoom, LauncherOne was on the move again — this time for our very first high-speed taxi test.

With chief pilot Kelly Latimer at the helm, Cosmic Girl cruised down the runway at Victorville Airport this weekend with a rocket under her wing. Not only did we ramp all the way up to more than 110 knots (that'll blow your hair back!), we also used the day as an opportunity to load real flight software onto LauncherOne for the first time.

Keep an eye out for more awesome images and info as our extensive captive carry campaign continues.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-19-2018 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgin Orbit photos
This Sunday (Nov. 18), 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.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43911
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-31-2020 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Virgin Orbit, via Twitter:
Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne are back on the runway in Mojave!

Since the beginning the year, there's been a flurry of fast-paced but deliberate activity to ready ourselves for an orbital launch demo with LauncherOne. Between flight sims, loading rehearsals and more, we validated a bevy of procedural and technical parameters and worked to demonstrate both vehicle and team readiness across the mission timeline.

Last week, team got the thumbs-up to move all of our GSE over to the hammerhead, the area where we'll conduct ground ops in the run-up to our orbital launch demonstration.

This week, we took LauncherOne off the test stand and re-mated the rocket to Cosmic Girl's wing.

All this activity is a precursor to a short series of wet dress rehearsals, as well as one more taxi test and captive carry flight with the fully loaded rocket.

Everyone is eager for us to conduct our launch demonstration — us more than anyone else. Now, we've got the rocket, our airplane and all of our support equipment positioned just next to the runway from which we'll fly. In a very literal sense, we're really close!

oly
Member

Posts: 1037
From: Perth, Western Australia
Registered: Apr 2015

posted 05-27-2020 02:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Watching the first air launch it appears that the rocket motor is ignited while the rocket is still in close proximity to the launch aircraft. Given the lack of crew ejection system of a Boeing 747 it may be prudent to give the rocket a little more freefall duration prior to lighting the wick, just in case the thing has a catastrophic failure.

Headshot
Member

Posts: 918
From: Vancouver, WA, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 05-27-2020 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How far did the X-15 fall from its carrier aircraft before it ignited its engine(s)?

I know the B-52 carrier bomber had means for its crew to exit in case of of emergency, but I am curious as to the distance between them.

All times are CT (US)

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