With a successful test of its air-launched rocket, Virgin Orbit entered space for the first time on Sunday, sending ten NASA satellites to orbit and achieving a crucial milestone after the first test launch of the rocket failed in 2020.
Before lighting its NewtonThree engine to launch itself out of the Earth’s atmosphere, the LauncherOne rocket was lowered mid-air from the Boeing 747 35,000 feet above the Pacific at 11:39am PT (1:09am IST).
The rocket flew some small satellites on behalf of NASA.
The small satellites included a temperature-monitoring satellite, a satellite to study how tiny particles collide in space, and an experimental radiation-detection satellite.
This successful mission makes Virgin Orbit, after SpaceX and Rocket Lab, the third space company to reach orbit. This also creates the opportunity for Virgin Orbit to start launching satellites NASA and other agencies.