A fully assembled rocket that will carry both Department of Defense and Polish SatRevolution satellites to space has arrived at the Mojave Air and Space Port after departing Virgin Orbits Long Beach rocket factory Monday. The rocket is now being mated to the customized 747 that serves as Virgin Orbits flying and fully re-usable launch pad and mobile mission control, with expected launch before the end of the year.

The mission, named Above the Clouds, would mark Virgin Orbits third launch of 2021 and is aiming to reach an orbit of 500 km. Virgin Orbit, which has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (NextGen) (NASDAQ: NGCA), has entered into a steady rhythm of launches, with the anticipation of additional launches doubling in 2022. Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart commented on the upcoming launch calling this mission an important step forward in achieving our goal to provide an affordable, accessible, and reliable route to low-earth orbit for customers around the world. All of us at Virgin Orbit are excited to continue to share our progress with the space community here in California as we gear up for even bigger things to come globally in 2022.

The Mission Manifest:

The U.S. Department of Defense, which is launching several Research and Development (R&D) satellites from multiple government agencies that are experiments in space-based communications and in-space navigation, as well as a university payload sponsored by NASA. This launch, also known as STP-VP27B, was awarded to Virgin Orbit through our subsidiary VOX Space by the DoDs Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) as part of the DoD Space Test Programs (STP) Rapid Agile Launch (RALI) Initiative. DIU is an organization working to accelerate the adoption of commercial technology into the U.S. military to strengthen national security. Polish company SatRevolution, which is launching two nanosatellites: STORK-3 and SteamSat-2. STORK-3 joins the STORK-4 and STORK-5 Marta satellites placed in orbit on our June 2021 mission as part of SatRevolutions Earth-observation capabilities, with a focus on serving customers in the agricultural sector to take medium-resolution photos. SteamSat-2 is a technology demonstrated for SteamJet Space System (UK)s innovative water-fueled thrusters for in-space propulsion.

Mission Name: Above the Clouds

Launch Site: Fully mobile LauncherOne system will conduct the flight from what is currently a bare concrete pad at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California

Target Orbit: mid-inclination Low Earth Orbit

Launch Timing: December 2021

Launch Coverage: Real time updates to be provided via social media and a public livestream

Alison Patch

ABOUT VIRGIN ORBIT Virgin Orbit builds and operates the most flexible and responsive satellite launcher ever invented: LauncherOne, a dedicated launch service for commercial and government-built small satellites. LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from our modified 747-400 carrier aircraft allowing us to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customers needs. To learn more or to apply to join Virgin Orbits talented and growing team, visit virginorbit.com.


NextGen Acquisition Corp. II is a blank check company whose business purpose is to effect a merger, share exchange, asset acquisition, share purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses. NextGen is led by George Mattson, a former Partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Gregory Summe, former Chairman and CEO of Perkin Elmer and Vice Chairman of the Carlyle Group. NextGen is listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol NGCA. For more information, please visit www.nextgenacq.com.