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Thu, Jan 07, 2021

Virgin Orbit Ready To Try Again This Weekend

9 CubeSat Missions Comprising 10 Total Spacecraft Are Set To Fly

Virgin Orbit's excitement is palpable with a recent social media posting, "Our team is hitting the ground running in 2021! The window for our Launch Demo 2 mission opens this Sunday, January 10th, with opportunities to launch throughout January."

Richard Branson joined in by tweeting, "Very excited that the launch window for Virgin Orbit’s Launch Demo 2 mission opens this Sunday, with opportunities to launch throughout January. The brilliant team are making their way through final reviews, checks and readiness discussions..."

After closing out December with a successful wet dress rehearsal (among other activities), VO is entering the new year riding a strong wave of momentum. Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne are on the tarmac at Mojave Air and Space Port, ready to go to work.

With Covid-19 a constant watch item, VO notes that they have been testing more often than ever and using every approach available to protect everyone’s health.

But now; with all of their major pre-launch tests complete, they are finally making our way through final reviews, checks, and readiness discussions.

In the first Launch Demo, VO demonstrated the entire prelaunch sequence, flyout, rocket separation and unpowered flight, engine start and first stage powered flight. "Our team is fired up to build on those steps and to demonstrate the rest of the rocket system, including our upper stage. Again, we’re poised to collect terabytes of data from LauncherOne as it flies, further enhancing our knowledge and proving out our system’s capabilities."

"We’re taking another big first step with this mission too, as we’ll be carrying customers’ satellites on board for the first time. We are immensely grateful to our friends at NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) and NASA’s Launch Service Program (NASA LSP) for what has been an incredibly collaborative team effort. NASA created VCLS to foster the development of new commercial launch capabilities for innovative, risk-tolerant payloads; and working with them has given us the opportunity to learn about their journey while bringing them some of Virgin’s unmatched heritage of customer service, and enabling us both to build upon and enhance future missions."

9 CubeSat missions comprising 10 total spacecraft are set to fly on LauncherOne during Launch Demo 2, which will also mark the 20th mission in NASA’s Educational Launch of NanoSatellites (ELaNa XX) series. NASA is using small satellites, including CubeSats, to advance exploration, demonstrate emerging technologies, and conduct scientific research and educational investigations. Nearly each payload on this flight was fully designed and built by universities across the US.

FMI: www.virginorbit.com
 


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