Virgin Orbit launches seven CubeSats into LEO for military and commercial customers

by | Jul 1, 2021 | commercial launch services, Launches, Military space, Satellites

Virgin Orbit has successfully launched a LauncherOne rocket its the carrier aircraft, Cosmic Girl, at 1447 GMT on 30 June. The “Tubular Bells: Part One” mission began with the carrier aircraft taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port, California, USA at 1350 GMT. After leaving Mojave the aircraft headed out over the Pacific Ocean to the launch zone at around 35,000 feet. Four seconds after dropping the vehicle from under the aircraft, Launcher One ignited its single NewtonThree first stage engine to start taking the seven satellites onboard to orbit.

A still from the on-board camera on the LauncherOne rocket

A still from the on-board camera on the LauncherOne rocket following separation from its Cosmic Girl carrier aircraft, visible in the background. Courtesy of Virgin Orbit

 

Four of the payloads are the same design, being carried for the US Space and Missile Center and it is assumed they will be used for technology testing. The identities of the four CubeSats are unknown at the time of launch so they have been given designators derived from their mission number: STP-PV27A-1; STP-PV27A-2; STP-PV27A-3; and STP-PV27A-4. The BRIK II, a 6U-CubeSat is owned by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) and will be used as a testbed for various communications technology experiments. The STORK-4 and STORK-5 3U-CubeSats are owned by the SatRevolution, a Polish company, and will be used for commercial earth observation.

Phil Hylands contributed to this article. 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Analysis: Change of UK Prime Minister – so what did Boris Johnson get right? Space!

As Boris Johnson left Downing Street on his last day as UK Prime Minister he was keen to use his Read more

Virgin Orbit launches seven US Space Force satellites in first night-time launch

Following the lift off of carrier aircraft "Cosmic Girl" at 0549 GMT from the Mojave Air and Space Port, California Read more

The Great British race to reach orbit from UK (Updated)

The final flight in 1971 of Black Arrow, a British satellite carrier rocket developed in the 1960s, remains the first Read more

Japanese iQPS signs contract with Virgin Orbit for launch of its fifth SAR satellite

Japanese newspace company, iQPS Inc, has contracted with American launch provider Virgin Orbit for the launch of its fifth satellite. Read more

UK Amber-1 CubeSat secures place on LauncherOne mission in the first orbital space launch from UK soil (Corrected)

The Satellite Applications Catapult (Catapult), a British innovation and technology company, has contracted with launch provider Virgin Orbit to include Read more

Virgin Orbit’s air-launched LauncherOne has third launch success in a row

The Virgin Orbit launch provider was celebrating its third launch success in a row of its air-launched LauncherOne rocket.  The Read more

Virgin Orbit becomes launch partner for Horizon Technologies’ AMBER signals intelligence constellation

Virgin Orbit has become the "preferred" launch provider of  Horizon Technologies (“Horizon”), the UK-based provider of satellite based Maritime Domain Read more

Virgin Orbit uses special-purpose acquisition company to fund growth

Launch company Virgin Orbit has joined the growing number of space companies to use a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to Read more

Categories

Archives