WASHINGTON — Virgin Orbit is preparing to perform a second flight of its LauncherOne small launch vehicle in the second half of December, carrying a set of NASA-sponsored cubesats.
A Nov. 24 “Local Notice to Mariners” by the U.S. Coast Guard stated that Virgin Orbit “will conduct hazardous operations” offshore from San Nicolas Island, California, between Dec. 18 and 21. Those operations will take place during a four-hour window that opens at 1 p.m. Eastern.
The notice does not explicitly state that a launch will take place, but Virgin Orbit used the same language in a Coast Guard notice for its first orbital launch attempt in May. That earlier notice, which also cited “hazardous operations,” had the same four-hour window and location for the operations.
The company has not announced a formal launch date yet, but has stated it intends to carry out a second launch before the end of the year. The company shipped the LauncherOne rocket for what it calls the Launch Demo 2 mission from its factory in Long Beach, California, to the Mojave Air and Space Port earlier this month. Technicians then mated the rocket to the company’s Boeing 747 carrier aircraft, according to a Nov. ...