Categories
GeekWire

Virgin Orbit’s jet gets set to launch rockets

Cosmic Girl
Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747 jet, known as Cosmic Girl, comes home to Long Beach, Calif., after going through a series of upgrades and tests. (Virgin Orbit Photo)

Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, christened “Cosmic Girl,” is back at its home base in Long Beach, Calif., for preparations that will lead to its use as a launch platform for small satellites.

The jet returned to Long Beach on July 31 after going through a series of inspections and modifications conducted in collaboration with L3 Platform Integration and VT Aerospace, two of Virgin Orbit’s partners.

In a news release, Virgin Orbit said the Federal Aviation Administration has issued Cosmic Girl an experimental airworthiness certificate, opening the way for flight tests to begin at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Virgin Orbit satellite spin-off makes its debut

LauncherOne deployment
An artist’s conception shows Virgin Orbit’s carrier airplane, Cosmic Girl, deploying a LauncherOne rocket for a high-altitude orbital launch. (Virgin Galactic Illustration)spac

Virgin Galactic says it’s spinning off its satellite launch operation, including the LauncherOne rocket development program, as a new commercial space company called Virgin Orbit.

The newly created company’s first president, Dan Hart, comes to the job from the Boeing Co., where he most recently served as vice president of government satellite systems.

“I’m thrilled that our small-satellite launch service has now progressed to the point it merits the formation of its own company, Virgin Orbit, and a new president in Dan with decades of deep experience and success in a broad variety of space programs,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said today in a news release.

Virgin Group now has three companies in its commercial space portfolio, which is known as Galactic Ventures.

Get the full story on GeekWire.