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Virgin orbit project: billionaire Branson's rocket successfully launches satellites for the first time


The »LauncherOne« rocket was launched into space from a Boeing 747: Virgin-Orbit, Richard Branson's company, successfully launched satellites into space for the first time.

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“LauncherOne” rocket on a test flight under Cosmic Girl, that is the nickname of the aircraft

Photo: Greg Robinson / Virgin Orbit

Last year, British billionaire Richard Branson suffered another setback with his Virgin Orbit project.

In May, an attempt to send a launcher into space failed.

This succeeded on Sunday.

The 21-meter long "LauncherOne" rocket was detonated in the air under the wing of a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft and shortly thereafter rose into space.

The Boeing took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles and flew the rocket to a drop-off point over the Pacific Ocean.

The two-stage »LauncherOne« launched some »CubeSats« into space, these are very small satellites that were developed and built as part of a NASA training program with the participation of US universities.

»Our favorite rocket orbits our favorite planet!

There is no better feeling, ”Virgin Orbit tweeted after the rocket reached orbit.

In May, the mission failed after the rocket left the plane.

At that time, however, there was only one test satellite on board.

According to the company, there was a break in a high-pressure line.

Virgin Orbit is based in Long Beach, California.

The company is affiliated with Branson's space tourism company Virgin Galactic.

Its long-term goal is to carry out flights into space for customers.

Virgin Galactic is in tough competition with rivals like Blue Origin from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos or SpaceX from Tesla boss Elon Musk, who also want to transport tourists into space.

The competitor Rocket Lab, also based in Long Beach, has launched its "Electron" rocket from a location in New Zealand from 96 payloads in 17 launches.

Branson's company advertises with great flexibility.

Because the missile is launched from an airplane, the missions can be launched from airports around the globe.

In his private life, however, Richard Branson experienced a loss.

His mother died after a corona infection at the age of 96.

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Nasa proving ground in Mississippi

Photo: Robert Markowitz / NASA / AFP

Nasa is also testing material for future missions at the weekend.

During a ground test in the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, all four engines of the moon rocket developed by aircraft manufacturer Boeing were to be ignited for the first time.

An eight-minute test run of the “Space Launch System” (SLS) was planned.

But after a minute the ignitions were broken off because a problem occurred with the almost 65 meter high rocket.

According to NASA chief Jim Bridenstine, it is still unclear what happened.

"We don't have enough information yet," he said, according to the New York Times, at a press conference after the test.

NASA experts are now trying to find out the reason for the premature shutdown.

“Space Launch System” is part of the Nasa lunar program “Artemis”, with which the space agency wants to send people back to the earth's satellite in an Orion space capsule for the first time since 1972.

But the program is already lagging behind the schedule and could be delayed even further due to the failed test.

The mission was originally planned to take place in 2024.

Icon: The mirror

joe / Reuters

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-01-18

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