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Virgin Orbit schedules its first orbital test launch this weekend

Posted On: 22 May 2020   |   Posted By: Spaceflight Now

Virgin Orbit schedules its first orbital test launch this weekend

A full-scale mock-up of Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket falls away from a modified Boeing 747 carrier jet during an inert drop test in July 2019 over the Mojave Desert of California. Credit: Virgin Orbit
The first orbital test flight of Virgin Orbit's privately-developed air-launched rocket is scheduled as soon as Sunday off the coast of Southern California, the company said Wednesday.
Designed to deliver small satellites into orbit, the LauncherOne vehicle has a four-hour window Sunday opening at 10 a.m. PDT to head into space after release from the belly of Virgin Orbit's Boeing 747 carrier aircraft. A backup launch opportunity is available at the same time Monday.
“We will only proceed with the mission if all conditions for launch are nominal,” Virgin Orbit said in a press kit for the demonstration flight. “Although air-launched systems like ours are less vulnerable to bad weather than fixed ground-launch systems, we'll be watching the weather closely and being cautious for this...

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