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Thu, Jul 05, 2018

FAA Grants Launch License To Virgin Orbit For LauncherOne

Rocket Also Approved For Shipping To Be Mated To Cosmic Girl

The FAA has granted a launch license to Virgin Orbit for the first launch of its LancherOne reusable launch vehicle.

"Virgin Orbit ... is authorized to conduct a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) mission," the FAA license states.

"Virgin Orbit is authorized to launch LauncherOne (L1) utilizing a Boeing 747-400 carrier aircraft. The RLV mission authorized by this license commences and concludes at Mojave Air and Space Port."

"You can't launch without a license, so this is a big step forward for us," the Virgin Orbit team posted on Facebook.

This week, Virgin Orbit  also received U.S. Department of Transportation approval to ship #LauncherOne to meet the carrier aircraft once they are ready to launch, according to the Facebook post.

"Next up: we'll be mating our pylon to our 747. That's the mechanism that holds #LauncherOne safely and securely under Cosmic Girl's wing. Then, we'll move into our captive carry test campaign, starting with flying with just the aircraft and the pylon. After that, we’ll practice flying with a fully integrated #LauncherOne. On that rocket's final flight, we'll run one more key test: dropping the rocket from Cosmic Girl. It'll free fall all the way back to Earth, collecting data all the way.

"That'll set us up nicely for our first orbital flight!"

(Image from file)

FMI: FAA License, Virgin Orbit Facebook

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