Agree to live in the era of space exploration is very cool, because you can observe the launch of rockets in real time right from home. Recently British billionaire Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, Orbit announced plans to test an orbital rocket intended for output of satellites into Earth’s orbit in the sky over the Pacific ocean on may 24. The test will be the first for the company, which was preparing for this moment for many years. In the past Virgin Orbit was part of another company Branson’s Virgin Galactic, but was later divided into several separate units, which are part of the Virgin Group. Currently, the company works closely with numerous governments and international organizations. Tell what you need to know about the launch, which will take place just a few days.
The first launch of Virgin Orbit
We already told you about the project Virgin Orbit and the numerous efforts that were preparing for a future run for five years. Over the years the company has conducted hundreds of tests of rocket engines, as well as 20 test flights of the Boeing 747. In July last year, my colleague Ramis Ganiev told about the reset of the rocket from the plane. This time the rocket fuel, and its own engines after a reset will start automatically.
The start of the test is scheduled for 10:00 GMT (12:00 Moscow time) on 24 may 2020, with a four-hour window per day during which may be the actual takeoff. The mission will include the flight of a modified aircraft carrier Boeing 747 with a trigger device that is separate from a Boeing 747 and uses its own rocket engines to complete the remainder of the flight into space.
It should be noted that the approach Virgin Orbit differs from the traditional rocket launches, and the use of the carrier aircraft does mean that he can take off from traditional runways. Agree, it is pretty convenient and the space is not needed. And in order to always be updated with the latest news and events from the world of science and high technology, subscribe to our news channel in the Telegram!
Rocket LauncherOne is a two – stage expendable booster, capable of carrying up to 500 kg. This is more than the load capacity of the Rocket Lab, but less than the Falcon 9 SpaceX.
The concept that underlies the approach Virgin Orbit aimed at reducing costs and improving the affordability of small satellites to orbit our planet. Estimated start costs amount to about $ 12 million per flight, which is a significant savings over traditional cost to launch and even at the cost of SpaceX missions. Recall, the cost per run starts from 62 million dollars.
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Why we need satellites?
Astronomical satellites prednaznacheny to explore planets, galaxies and other space objects; meteorological satellites to transmit data to predict weather and monitor the climate on the planet. Needless to say that scientific research, communication, navigation, television – possible thanks to a satellite spacecraft in orbit of our planet.
Engineers Virgin Orbit understand that flight tests of similar systems, implemented by government organizations and private companies, statistically end in failure. In this case, the task is to rocket flying as long as possible, letting the onboard instruments collect as much useful information. In case of successful spacewalk LauncherOne will be put into orbit an experimental cargo and descend from orbit, not to interfere with other devices. In the company hope that all goes well, it will also allow Virgin to Orbit launch for business customers in July this year.
The aircraft carrier under the name of Cosmic Girl will fly over the Pacific ocean and will release a two-stage orbital carrier rocket at anof about 10500 kilometers.