Virgin Orbit gets ready to start test launches

Stephen Eisele
Virgin Orbit Vice President Stephen Eisele talks about his company’s air-launch system during the NewSpace conference in Renton, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

RENTON, Wash. — British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit venture is getting ready to put its LauncherOne rocket system through its first flight test in a little more than a week, the company’s vice president for business development said today.

The first flight will be a captive-carry test, Virgin Orbit’s Stephen Eisele said during the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace conference in Renton. That means an inactive LauncherOne rocket would be attached to a pylon built onto a converted Boeing 747 jet that’s known as Cosmic Girl.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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