Virgin Orbit, a spider of Virgin Galactic, flew its LauncherOne rocket for the first time ever last Sunday, November 18th. The company carried out the test flight with the 21 meter rocket clamped to the wing by a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft named Cosmic Girl.
The 80-minute airline flight departed from California’s Victorville Airport, northeast of Los Angeles.
“The vehicles flew like a dream today. Everyone on the flight crew and all our colleagues on the ground was very pleased with the data we saw from the instruments onboard the aircraft, the pylon and the rocket itself. From my perspective in the cockpit, the vehicles handled incredibly well and perfectly matched what we practiced in the simulators, says Virgin Orbit Chief Pilot Kelly Latimer in a press release according to a statement.
Virgin Orbit plans to use Cosmic Girl as a first launch platform ( sometimes called a maternity) to launch satellite-carrying rockets in low orbit. The aircraft will fly the LauncherOne rocket to a height of 35,000 feet. The rocket will then be released and suspended to launch light satellites with a maximum payload of 1
100 pound in space.