Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit Reaches Space On 2nd Try
Matt Hartman

Virgin Orbit Boeing 747-400 rocket launch platform, named Cosmic Girl, takes off from Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave (MHV) on its second orbital launch demonstration in the Mojave Desert, north of Los Angeles.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit has reached space eight months after the first demonstration flight of its air-launched rocket system failed.

The company says a 70-foot-long LauncherOne rocket released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747 aircraft off the coast of Southern California reached orbit Sunday. The rocket carried a cluster of very small satellites developed as part of a NASA educational program involving U.S. universities.

Virgin Orbit attempted its first demonstration launch in May 2020. That rocket was released and ignited but only briefly flew under power before it stopped thrusting. The company determined there was a breach in a high-pressure liquid oxygen line.