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Virgin Orbit rocket launches 7 US defense satellites


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A seven-satellite Virgin Orbit rocket from the United States Department of Defense was launched from a special Boeing 747 that flew off the coast of Southern California and flew into space Friday night.

The modified jumbo jet lifted off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the Mojave Desert and released the rocket over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Los Angeles.

The launch was obtained by the US Space Force for a test program of the Department of Defense. The seven payloads will perform different experiments.

“And there we have it, folks!” the company tweeted shortly before 1 a.m. local time, about an hour after the missile detached itself from the 747. “NewtonFour has successfully relocated all customer spacecraft to their target orbit.”

It was Virgin Orbit’s fourth commercial launch and its first nighttime launch. The launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but that attempt was called off due to a propellant temperature issue.

Virgin Orbit named the mission “Straight Up” after the hit on Paula Abdul’s debut studio album “Forever Your Girl”, released in 1988 through Virgin Records.

Virgin Orbit was founded in 2017 by British billionaire Richard Branson. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, it is currently conducting launches from the Mojave airport but planning international missions.

Later this year, the company will launch two satellites for a mission from Newquay Airport in Cornwall, England. The satellites will conduct radio signal monitoring tests in a joint project between the UK Ministry of Defense and the US National Reconnaissance Office.

Virgin Orbit successfully launches 7 satellites into orbit

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Quote: Virgin Orbit rocket launches 7 US defense satellites (2022, July 2), retrieved July 2, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-virgin-orbit-rocket-defense-satellites.html

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