Virgin Orbit To Collaborate With UK’s RAF To Launch Small Satellites Using Airplanes

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The billionaire Richard Branson bakes up a small satellite launch company, Virgin Orbit, which will be the developer of U.K.’s Royal Air Force (RAF)’s small satellite launch capabilities as says the agreement they signed. RAF’s Artemis project includes this deal which consists of Virgin Orbit launching hardware provided by Guildford, U.K.-based Surrey Satellites in a demo mission.

The U.K. does not have spacecraft launch capabilities, but Virgin Orbit aims to make the country suitable for this purpose. In 1917 the U.K. launched a British satellite aboard a British rocket, but the mission did not happen 100% in the U.K. as the launchpad from Australia was used for this. Virgin Orbit’s goal consists of building a new Spaceport in Cornwall that will be the location to their modified 747 launch aircraft’s. The target is to make it happen until 2030.

Virgin Orbit To Collaborate With UK’s RAF To Launch Small Satellites Using Airplanes

Virgin Orbits does not need terrestrial rockets to make their method of launching work, so in the matter of finance, they will not be affected because they only need a traditional airfield. Their plan looks like this: they attach a rocket to a modified Boeing 747’s wing, and at a high cruising altitude it separates and blats carrying light payloads all the way to low Earth orbit. With that being said, airplanes will replace rockets in this way.

In the case of big and heavy satellites that need to get to space, this method can’t be used. This is a matter for the military agencies and the government. However, smaller satellites can reach their target easily this way. Countries would instead launch this type of bodies because they are budget-friendly. Neither the launch or construction costs not even close to what SpaceX, for example, sends into space.


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