Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne has signed an agreement to launch a SITAEL satellite developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The all-electric propulsion microsat demonstrator called µHETsat will be air-launched on a rocket carried under the wing of Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl carrier plane.
Virgin Orbit Launch:
The new air-launch system is yet to conduct its maiden flight, although progress towards that milestone is picking up the pace.
Just this month, Cosmic Girl, a Boeing 747-400 (747-41R) series aircraft (previous registration number G-VWOW), arrived at the company’s Long Beach facility in California after initial retrofitting in San Antonio, Texas – via a flow called “Maintenance D”.
Chosen via an impressively clean operational history and excellent maintenance record, the aircraft undertook its first flight on 29 September 2001 and was delivered to Virgin Atlantic Airways on 31 October 2001.
She spent 14 years in service with Virgin Atlantic Airways primarily servicing the company’s London to San Francisco via New York City route until 29 October 2015.
The plane was officially delivered to Virgin Galactic on 12 November 2015 and re-registered as N744VG.
The main modification involves the ability to support the 24,947.58 kg (55,000 ...