Virgin Orbit is developing a system that sends satellites into space using a rocket launched from a jumbo jet.
The company completed its first successful mission in January, and later this month it’s aiming to repeat the process in a flight that will deploy seven satellites.
And there’s a treat in store for aviation fans, too, as Virgin Orbit is planning to livestream the entire event.
“For the first time ever you’ll be able to watch the mission live on launch day with Virgin Orbit’s official mission livestream, available via their YouTube page,” the company announced this week. The livestream is likely to offer some dramatic footage from multiple angles, with cameras potentially located on the ground, inside the 747 cockpit, on an aircraft tracking the 747, and on the rocket itself.
Virgin Orbit’s livestream will feature Cosmic Girl — Virgin Orbit’s converted Boeing 747 — taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California, with the LauncherOne payload-carrying rocket secured beneath the aircraft’s left wing. When it reaches around 35,000 feet, the rocket will launch from the aircraft before powering into space, where it will deploy the satellites into low-Earth orbit. Mission customers include the Department of Defense Space Test Program, Poland-based SatRevolution, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
“The team at Virgin Orbit has been hard at work completing final checks ahead of the next mission to space,” the company said.
Other private companies in the business of satellite deployment — SpaceX and Rocket Lab among them — already livestream their launches not only to market their business but also to inspire young engineers and, of course, for the pure entertainment value of watching new technology in action. Virgin Orbit’s unique style of satellite delivery, which includes firing a rocket from a converted jumbo jet, means its upcoming livestream is likely to garner a lot of attention.
The precise date and time for the mission is yet to be announced, but Digital Trends will be sure to post an update once the details are released.