A fully assembled rocket that will carry both Department of Defense and Polish SatRevolution satellites to space has arrived at the Mojave Air and Space Port after departing Virgin Orbit’s Long Beach rocket factory Monday.
The rocket is now being mated to the customized 747 that serves as Virgin Orbit’s flying and fully re-usable launch pad and mobile mission control, with expected launch before the end of the year.
The mission, named Above the Clouds, would mark Virgin Orbit’s third launch of 2021 and is aiming to reach an orbit of 500 km. Virgin Orbit, which has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II, has entered into a steady rhythm of launches, with the anticipation of additional launches doubling in 2022.
Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart commented on the upcoming launch calling this mission “an important step forward in achieving our goal to provide an affordable, accessible, and reliable route to low-earth orbit for customers around the world. All of us at Virgin Orbit are excited to continue to share our progress with the space community here in California as we gear up for even bigger things to come globally in 2022.”
The Mission Manifest
+ The U.S. Department of Defense, which is launching several Research and Development (R and D) satellites from multiple government agencies that are experiments in space-based communications and in-space navigation, as well as a university payload sponsored by NASA.
This launch, also known as STP-27VPB, was awarded to Virgin Orbit through our subsidiary VOX Space by the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) as part of the DoD Space Test Program’s (STP) Rapid Agile Launch (RALI) Initiative. DIU is an organization working to accelerate the adoption of commercial technology into the U.S. military to strengthen national security.
+ Polish company SatRevolution, which is launching two nanosatellites: STORK-3 and SteamSat-2. STORK-3 joins the STORK-4 and STORK-5 Marta satellites placed in orbit on our June 2021 mission as part of SatRevolution’s Earth-observation capabilities, with a focus on serving customers in the agricultural sector to take medium-resolution photos.
SteamSat-2 is a technology demonstrated for SteamJet Space System (UK)’s innovative water-fueled thrusters for in-space propulsion.Internet Explorer Channel Network