Virgin Orbit progress
Virgin Orbit is a company within the Virgin Group which provides launch services for small satellites.
Virgin Orbit completed
- 29-09-2001 Boeing assembled 747-400-41R called Cosmic Girl.
- 31-10-2002 Cosmic Girl perated as passenger airliner by Virgin Atlantic.
- 03-11-2005 Engine No. 1 struck the ground.
- Cosmic Girl transferred to Virgin Galactic. Out of service. To be used as the first stage launch platform (or mothership launch pad) for the air launch stage of the smallsat orbital launch vehicle, the LauncherOne.
- Cosmic Girl transferred to Virgin Orbit.
- 25-05-2020 Launch 1: LauncherOne failed to reach its orbit after release from Cosmic Girl over the Pacific Ocean. Flight test, maiden orbital flight. Launch failure after successful release and ignition of the NewtonThree engines on the first stage. A high-pressure propellant line broke causing liquid oxygen to stop flowing into the engine. Issue was addressed through strengthening engine components that broke. Prior to failure aerodynamics including fins acted as expected.
- 17-01-2021 Launch 2: LauncherOne became the first Virgin Orbit vehicle to reach orbit, successfully deploying 10 CubeSats into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for NASA on its final demonstration mission. LauncherOne was deployed from the left (port) wing of a retrofitted Boeing 747, 33,000 feet (10 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean. Dedicated launch of 10 NASA sponsored CubeSats. First successful launch of LauncherOne and the first fully liquid-fueled air-launched rocket to reach orbit.
- 30-06-2021 Launch 3: LauncherOne successfully delivered the first commercial payload to its orbit.
- 13-01-2022 Launch 4: LauncherOne successfully delivered seven cubesats for three customers into its orbit.
- 02-07-2022 Launch 5: Straight Up mission. STP-S28A mission for the U.S. Space Force, consisting of 7 satellites. The ELaNa 39 mission, consisting of two CubeSats, was launched on this flight. Virgin Orbit’s first nighttime launch.
- 09-01-2023 Launch 6: LauncherOne (first UK launched rocket) experienced an ‘anomaly’ and failed to reach its orbit. Start Me Up mission. Payload: AMAN, CIRCE A & B, DOVER, ForgeStar-0, IOD-3 Amber, Prometheus 2A & 2B, STORK-6. The normal steps for LauncherOne are:
- Drop ready
- S1 ignation
- S1 cut-off
- Stage separation
- S2 ignation
- Fairing separation
- S2 cut-off
- S2 2nd burn
- S2 cut-off
- Payload deployment
Virgin Orbit in progress
- 10-01-2023 LauncherOne launch 6 failed. Under investigation.
Virgin Orbit upcoming
- Launch 7: 00-01-2023: STP-S28C mission.
- Launch 8: 00-02-2023: The ELaNa-46 mission, consisting of three CubeSats, will launch on this flight.
- Launch 9: Q1 2023: First of six launches contracted to Virgin Orbit for HyperSat’s hyperspectral satellite constellation.
- Launch 10: Q1 2023.
- Launch 11: Mid 2023.
- Launch 12: 2023: First of multiple launches contracted to Virgin Orbit for Spire Global.
- Launch 13: TBD: Commercial smallsat mission to Mars, using the Exploration 3-Stage Variant of LauncherOne.