Virgin Orbit targets launch window opening January 10 for next orbital flight attempt – TechCrunch

Virgin orbit Returning to active flight testing in 2021 without wasting time: The company has a window for its next orbital display launch effort, which opens on Sunday 10 January, and continues throughout the month. It follows an effort made in May last year LauncherOne rocket ended before reaching orbit – Soon after, the Cosmic Girl carrier actually split from the plane.

While that mission was not exactly what Virgin Orbit expected, it was a significant milestone for the small satellite launch company, and it helped to gather critical data about how the vehicle performed in flight. LauncherOne was able to light up its rocket booster before the safety systems on board automatically shut it down. The company was trying to fly this second test before the end of last year, but issues including COVID-19 meant that they were only wet dress rehearsals (basically leading to flying with everything run-through) Were) fully fueled vehicles).

This next mission will attempt an orbital launch once again, and this time, the stakes are slightly higher as NASA’s actual customer payloads are on board. They incorporate many small satellite science experiments and demonstrations, and while they are specifically selected for the mission profile (meaning it is not a tremendous disadvantage if the launch fails), it is still available to everyone. Will actually please them most to bring them to their target destination. .

The nature of the launch window means that Virgin Orbit will wait as long as possible for possible conditions before taking flight from Mojave Air & Space Port in California, so take the time to launch as early as January 10, but Not necessarily the most likely. If successful, Virgin Orbit will join a select group of private small launch vehicles that have made it into orbit, so the industry will definitely see it flying next time with Cosmic Girl’s LauncherOne attached.