A company owned by Richard Branson, head of the Virgin group, after many months of testing, he finally carried out a fully successful test of the launch of the LauncherOne rocket from his Jumbo jet. See this event on the film.
The first flight of the rocket suspended to the Cosmic Girl took place in November 2018. Now the first rocket drop test is over for us, which took place over Edwards Air Force Base in California. The time comes for the first launch of the LauncherOne in the air and the flight into orbit.
We remind you that the rocket will be disconnected and launched during the flight of the Boeing 747. LauncherOne will be powered by two engines, a single NewtonThree on the first stage and a single NewtonFour on the second stage. Both engines are supplied with liquid oxygen and kerosene (RP-1). Modern rockets will be able to carry small loads up to 225 kilograms in space, but this is enough to put in orbit eg a constellation of small satellites, eg for the needs of the One Web space.
Virgin Orbit is planning the first rocket test on the flight later this year. Meanwhile, next year it will reach its 12 starts, and in 2020, as many as 24. Accelerating the work of the team of engineers Richard Branson should not be surprising, because there is more and more competition in the private sector of the space industry.
The company wants to put a constellation of microsatellites of the cosmic Internet called OneWeb into it, using its system of carrying loads into space. In February this year, the European version of the Russian Soyuz-STB rocket has successfully reached the orbit of the first 6 space Internet devices. The devices are operational and undergo regular tests.
In total, approximately 700 satellites are to be found in orbit (approximately 2000), and another 200 are to be exchanged if one of them suddenly breaks down. The initial constellation of satellites is expected to cost about $ 2 billion, and there are still small terminals for users to access to the 50 Mbit / s network.