Virgin Orbit Completes Successful Captive Carry Test Flight With "Flying Launchpad"

November 26 2018

A specially modified 747-400 carrying a 70-foot-long rocket under its wing soared through the air as part of a successful test flight for Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne. Sir Richard Branson's small satellite launch company completed a flawless test flight, proving that its carbon-fiber two-stage rocket works perfectly as a pair with Cosmic Girl, the customized former passenger aircraft that serves as the company's "flying launch pad." The successful test puts more air under the wings-and fins-of the company's plans to reach orbit in early 2019.

This successful flight marks the start of a new phase in Virgin Orbit's extensive test flight campaign. Future tests will focus on further proving out the robustness of the company's modified 747, the carbon-fiber rocket itself, and the performance of the cutting-edge, lightweight avionics and flight computers onboard the rocket.

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