Virgin Orbit is looking to grow its military business by proving that rockets launched from airplanes in flight can be instruments of national security.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Aug. 27 released its final environmental assessment that found “no significant impact” for Virgin Orbit to conduct launches from Guam.
Virgin Orbit will use the proceeds of a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company to expand its launch business and develop a satellite constellation for internet-of-things and Earth observation services.
Two Missile Defense Agency cubesats launched June 30 on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne successfully began communicating with ground stations last week, the agency announced July 12.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne successfully launched seven cubesats June 30 in the second operational mission of the air-launch system.
On the eve of its second revenue-generating launch, Virgin Orbit is looking to 2022 to ramp up its launch activity and operate from several airports in the United States and Great Britain.
The United States and five other countries are banding together with the United Kingdom to develop a satellite-based quantum technology encryption network.
British quantum technology encryption startup Arqit is raising $400 million in the space industry’s latest SPAC deal, supporting the launch and construction of two satellites in 2023 to protect against growing hacking threats.
Virgin Orbit has scheduled its next LauncherOne mission for June, carrying a mix of defense and commercial cubesats.
With its first successful launch in the books, Virgin Orbit is considering ways it can expand into adjacent markets, including supporting ventures developing satellite systems.
SpaceX is seeing strong demand for its dedicated smallsat rideshare missions, a program that is putting pricing pressure on small launch vehicle developers.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket reached orbit on its second flight Jan. 17, demonstrating the performance of the air-launch system.
Virgin Orbit has rescheduled its second orbital launch attempt for Jan. 10 as another small launch vehicle company, Rocket Lab, announces plans for its first launch of 2021.
Virgin Orbit is preparing to perform a second flight of its LauncherOne small launch vehicle in the second half of December, carrying a set of NASA-sponsored cubesats.
Small satellite launch providers need governments to invest in a diversity of companies and to avoid creating monopolies, Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said.