Virgin Orbit Launches Satellite Rocket From a Flying Boeing 747

The rocket carried 10 satellites from NASA.

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Virgin Orbit has successfully launched satellites into space using a modified Boeing 747.

Nicknamed Cosmic Girl, the plane held under its wing the “LauncherOne” rocket carrying 10 shoebox-sized satellites selected by NASA and took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port on Sunday morning. After roughly one hour of flight time, the rocket was dropped from the wing and began accelerating to speeds of 17,500 mph, reaching a height of 500km before deploying the satellites.

“A new gateway to space has just sprung open,” said the company’s CEO Dan Hart on the mission’s success. “That LauncherOne was able to successfully reach orbit today is a testament to this team’s talent, precision, drive, and ingenuity.”

“Virgin Orbit has achieved something many thought impossible, added Virgin’s founder Richard Branson. “It was so inspiring to see our specially adapted Virgin Atlantic 747, Cosmic Girl, send the LauncherOne rocket soaring into orbit. This magnificent flight is the culmination of many years of hard work and will also unleash a whole new generation of innovators on the path to orbit.”

The company is now planning to transition officially into the commercial world for its next launch and already has numerous clients booked up for the near future, including the U.S. Space Force, the U.K. Royal Air Force, Swarm Technologies, SITAEL, and GomSpace.

Elsewhere in tech, Apple is reportedly testing out foldable screens for the iPhone.

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