Virgin Galactic, the company aiming to offer sub-orbital flights into space now has a sister company named – Virgin Orbit. Its ‘LauncherOne rocket program’ is now a separate venture under the name of Virgin Orbit that will serve the booming small satellite industry. The daily operations of Virgin Orbit are in the hands of Dan Hart, an ex-Boeing executive, who has taken the position of Orbit’s president. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic’s CEO, George Whitesides will hold the same position in its sister company.
Based in Long Beach, California, the LauncherOne program which is now Virgin Orbit aims to offer lucrative services. It intends on offering affordable and quick launch services of small satellites to orbit. Maybe this is why the sister company has the word –‘Orbit’ attached to its name.
LauncherOne Rocket Program is now Virgin Orbit
Galactic Ventures is Virgin group’s commercial space venture that has mainly focused on commercial space tourism. The other company of Galactic Ventures besides Virgin Galactic; The Spaceship Company is working on spacecraft designed for future. It has designed and built SpaceShipTwo, aiming to carry tourists to space.
Virgin Orbit is the most speculated venture of this space innovations dedicated company. To launch the small satellites Virgin Orbit will use the LauncherOne orbital launch vehicle. This launch vehicle is a 747-400 airplane designed to hold a rocket beneath its wing. Beyond reaching the required altitude the rocket fires into space to deliver small satellites.
Notably, two biggest developments will reflect the success of Virgin Orbit. One is the development and market of mini satellites. The other factor is the ongoing and growing demand by various companies to gain access to space at an affordable rate.
The founder of Virgin and a multi-billion entrepreneur, Richard Branson stated that LauncherOne is created with the same philosophy as SpaceShipTwo. In a post that announced the new company, Branson stated that they’re doing exactly the same with LauncherOne, but with satellites instead of people.
Virgin Orbit’s Future and Success
The U.K company’s sister venture aims to launch satellites weighing around 440 pounds (200 kg) in the orbit for below an estimated cost of $10 million dollars. It has a target to keep the price below $10 million if possible to give low-cost space orbital services. Virgin Orbit will launch satellites weighing 440 pounds (200 kg) into the standard sun-synchronous orbits. It will also be able to launch satellites weighing 880 pounds (400 kg) in low Earth orbits.
On the other hand, big global networks are developed by OneWeb, Planet, SpaceX and other U.S and global companies. It aims to providing imagery, high-speed internet, communications, and other services globally. After this development, many small satellites will be significantly needed for orbital rides in the upcoming years.
We hope these trends prove as an encouragement to Virgin Orbit for achieving success.