The Virgin Orbit company carried out a drop-test of LauncherOne rocket, which is planned to launch into orbit from the Boeing 747 airliner flying at cruising altitude. The same scheme was used for fresh tests, but the rocket was simply disconnected from the mount near the aircraft engine.
The rocket is hung with a variety of sensors, which transmitted to Virgin Orbit the necessary data on aerodynamics, system operation and other parameters. The plane dropped a rocket from a height of 35 thousand feet – about 10.6 kilometers.
Oh, and by the way, we've already started work on the next rocket, and the one after that, and the one after that too. 🚀 END THREAD 🚀 pic.twitter.com/4Rtmj6qCp8— Virgin Orbit (@Virgin_Orbit) July 10, 2019
So far, Virgin Orbit has not called a specific flight date LauncherOne. In the coming months, the company plans to conduct new tests.
If Virgin Galactic focuses on suborbital tourist flights, then Virgin Orbit plans to use rockets to launch compact satellites. The cost of one start is estimated at $ 10-15 million.