Virgin Orbit Moves Toward First Launch

Cosmic Girl with LauncherOne attached. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — The Virgin Orbit team has been firing on all cylinders as we button up our first orbital LauncherOne rocket and make final preparations for our upcoming launch demonstration.

This month, we ran through multiple rounds of propellant loading rehearsals, completed fully autosequenced flight simulations from ground ops all the way through to captive carry, upgraded and installed a few bits of hardware on the rocket itself, and much, much more. 

All of this forward momentum has pushed us closer than ever to actually lighting this candle. As a reminder, we intend to complete one more taxi test and captive carry flight with the fully loaded rocket. Besides that, we’re planning to hold a short series of wet dress rehearsals. And really, that’s it. 

LauncherOne attached to Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

As a precursor to these final activities, we took LauncherOne off the test stand this week and re-attached the rocket to its rightful place under Cosmic Girl’s left wing. We were also able to smoothly transfer all of our ground support equipment — that is, a modest set of mobile trailers — to the hammerhead in Mojave, the section of the runway where we’ll conduct our ground ops on flight day. 

It’s quite surreal to see all of our work over the last few years coming to head. As individuals, as a team and as a company, we’ll be changed forever the moment NewtonThree ignites in mid-air. And we can’t wait to see it.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wait much longer.