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mxaxai
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Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue May 26, 2020 8:13 am

Now that Virgin Orbit is truly trying to get somewhere with their concept, thought we might open a general collector thread for smaller news on their launch system.

Unfortunately, the motivation for this thread is the failure of their first orbital launch. There was a problem with the first stage engine, and the launch was terminated soon after deployment. I'm hoping that this is just a minor problem, and not a fundamental issue with the engine. The engine uses kerosene + LOX like SpaceX' Falcon series.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/25/v ... st-flight/
 
889091
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue May 26, 2020 9:27 pm

Did they hang that thing on the 5th engine pod on the 744?
 
Ozair
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue May 26, 2020 9:53 pm

889091 wrote:
Did they hang that thing on the 5th engine pod on the 744?

Yes.

Image
 
jetwet1
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Wed May 27, 2020 5:14 am

Ozair wrote:
889091 wrote:
Did they hang that thing on the 5th engine pod on the 744?

Yes.

Image


Sort off, it's in the space used by the pod, but the whole thing was rebuilt to allow for the drop mechanism.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Wed May 27, 2020 10:18 am

There was a photo of the test launch vehicle on the front page yesterday:

Unfortunately, there's not much other information regarding the failed launch except this image shortly after ignition:
Image
https://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-firs ... mpt-fails/
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Thu May 28, 2020 7:16 am

Interesting project, and I wonder if will be economically feasible. But after all the costs have been sunk and the technology developed, there's not much more to worry - than actually getting the thing into orbit and prove the payload capacity/delivery, to showcase the thing to customers.

But then I think Boeing is a bit late with its F-747 and the Anti-A380-missile.
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
Saintor
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:43 pm

Why does it come from UK? I can't believe that the NASA never worked on such a concept (?).
 
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Nomadd
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:53 pm

Saintor wrote:
Why does it come from UK? I can't believe that the NASA never worked on such a concept (?).

You mean the rocket built in the US, launched by a US airplane in the US?
And, you might want to look up Pegasus.
 
GDB
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:35 am

Saintor wrote:
Why does it come from UK? I can't believe that the NASA never worked on such a concept (?).


Only Branson comes from the UK (apologies for that).
Not that he lives here now, apparently an often storm ravaged island is better (than paying tax).

We've not heard so much from his sub orbital scheme recently, the one that's been taking pax 'next year' since 2007.

I don't doubt he wants to get into the space business, however the original idea for high paying pax might be undermined if we believe that Tom Cruise might be going on a future Dragon launch.

With this air launch for satellites though, there is a lot of competition out there.
From hitching a ride on a Falcon 9 to Rocket Lab.
 
SRQLOT
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:10 pm

Surprised this wasn’t posted yet!

First successful launch with 9 cubesats in orbit!!

The successful mission makes Virgin Orbit only the third so-called "New Space" company — startups hoping to overhaul the traditional industry with innovative technologies — to reach orbit, after SpaceX and Rocket Lab. The success also paves the way for Virgin Orbit to begin launching satellites for a host of customers that it already has lined up, including NASA, the military and private-sector companies that use satellites for commercial purposes.

Long live the Queen!!!

https://news.google.com/articles/CAIiEF ... id=US%3Aen
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Francoflier
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:50 pm

SRQLOT wrote:
Surprised this wasn’t posted yet!


Thanks. Was gonna but couldn't find the thread, and the prospect of using A.net's search function put that impetus to rest...

Anyhow, great day for Virgin Orbit. The launcher market is getting really competitive now.

The official video isn't out yet but here's a short unofficial one from the down(/aft?) facing camera on the rocket. The jumbo can be seen breaking away behind it. Very cool.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3L5uXd49fE

It seemed a bit squirrely during the first seconds after engine start however.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:17 pm

Thanks for the update post. Direct link to the CNN article: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/17/tech ... index.html
And Space News article here: https://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-reac ... e-mission/

A total of 10 satellites were deployed according to the second article, from nine developers.
 
SRQLOT
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:02 pm

I have not been up to date on Virgin Orbit as much as other companies, so I do have few questions.

The rocket is not reusable correct?

Can a company or a nation request a launch from the country they are located in? As in Virgin Orbit flying the 747 with the rocket to another country and loading and launching from there? Or is is just going to be California based launches?

Thanks.
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bikerthai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:09 pm

SRQLOT wrote:
Can a company or a nation request a launch from the country they are located in?


Launch Vehicle may be one of those tech that require Export Control License. That being said, I guess you can launch it from anywhere as long as you can get an export license.

That brings to me the question, will it make any difference if they launch it near the equator to get the additional rotational boost?

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:07 am

bikerthai wrote:
SRQLOT wrote:
Can a company or a nation request a launch from the country they are located in?


Launch Vehicle may be one of those tech that require Export Control License. That being said, I guess you can launch it from anywhere as long as you can get an export license.

That brings to me the question, will it make any difference if they launch it near the equator to get the additional rotational boost?

bt


https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55699262

Extract from this BBC article:

In reality, of course, his Virgin Orbit system has to be licensed in the locality where it is used, which at the moment is solely California. But there are well-advanced plans to bring the 747 and its rockets to Cornwall in south-west England, for example.


It opens interesting prospects for launching small sats from anywhere in the World, but the hurdle would be political, as usual.
The concept is quite appealing: Any nation wanting to launch a small satellite can just call Virgin Orbit who will happily fly their plane and rocket to their country and launch it from there. I suppose nothing is that easy in practice.

As for the benefits of lower latitudes for performance, I doubt it makes much difference for the size of that rocket. Whatever you would gain might well be compensated by the fact that you can launch pretty much straight onto your orbital plane without having to maneuver out of a launchpad towards it... Then again, the intricacies of orbital mechanics completely elude me.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
SRQLOT
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:53 am

Francoflier wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
SRQLOT wrote:
Can a company or a nation request a launch from the country they are located in?


Launch Vehicle may be one of those tech that require Export Control License. That being said, I guess you can launch it from anywhere as long as you can get an export license.

That brings to me the question, will it make any difference if they launch it near the equator to get the additional rotational boost?

bt


https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55699262

Extract from this BBC article:

In reality, of course, his Virgin Orbit system has to be licensed in the locality where it is used, which at the moment is solely California. But there are well-advanced plans to bring the 747 and its rockets to Cornwall in south-west England, for example.


It opens interesting prospects for launching small sats from anywhere in the World, but the hurdle would be political, as usual.
The concept is quite appealing: Any nation wanting to launch a small satellite can just call Virgin Orbit who will happily fly their plane and rocket to their country and launch it from there. I suppose nothing is that easy in practice.

As for the benefits of lower latitudes for performance, I doubt it makes much difference for the size of that rocket. Whatever you would gain might well be compensated by the fact that you can launch pretty much straight onto your orbital plane without having to maneuver out of a launchpad towards it... Then again, the intricacies of orbital mechanics completely elude me.



Thank you for the replies. And I guess in a way I thought of it like a cargo ship vessel. Just order it and the company makes a pick up and delivery. Would that kind of a rocket have such secretive parts to need a special export license? I mean it wouldn’t fly to Iran or North Korea.
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mxaxai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 12:39 pm

SRQLOT wrote:
Thank you for the replies. And I guess in a way I thought of it like a cargo ship vessel. Just order it and the company makes a pick up and delivery. Would that kind of a rocket have such secretive parts to need a special export license? I mean it wouldn’t fly to Iran or North Korea.

Launch vehicles and their motors are fundamentally subject to ITAR restrictions. So any launch from non-US territory would require a specific export license.

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt22.1.121
Category IV—Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines

*(a) Rockets, space launch vehicles (SLVs), missiles, bombs, torpedoes, depth charges, mines, and grenades, as follows:

(1) Rockets, SLVs, and missiles capable of delivering at least a 500-kg payload to a range of at least 300 km (MT);

(2) Rockets, SLVs, and missiles capable of delivering less than a 500-kg payload to a range of at least 300 km (MT);
...
*(b) Launchers for rockets, SLVs, and missiles, as follows:

(1) Fixed launch sites and mobile launcher mechanisms for any system enumerated in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this category (MT);
...
*(d) Rocket, SLV, and missile power plants, as follows:

(1) Except as enumerated in paragraph (d)(2) or (d)(3) of this category, individual rocket stages for the articles enumerated in paragraph (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(5) of this category (MT for those stages usable in systems enumerated in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this category);

(2) Solid propellant rocket motors, hybrid or gel rocket motors, or liquid propellant rocket engines having a total impulse capacity equal to or greater than 1.1 × 106 N·s (MT);

(3) Solid propellant rocket motors, hybrid or gel rocket motors, or liquid propellant rocket engines having a total impulse capacity equal to or greater than 8.41 × 105 N·s, but less than 1.1 × 106 N·s (MT);
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:42 pm

In actuality, it is much easier regulatory wise to bring stuff into the US for launch instead of sending the launcher abroad. Even if it's an ITAR payload.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
RobertS975
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:58 pm

Which airport does the Virgin Orbit B747 use for its operations?
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:31 pm

RobertS975 wrote:
Which airport does the Virgin Orbit B747 use for its operations?


Mojave Air and Space Port, MHV
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:32 pm

SRQLOT wrote:
Would that kind of a rocket have such secretive parts to need a special export license? I mean it wouldn’t fly to Iran or North Korea.


ITAR hardware does not necessarily have to contain secret tech. As long as it is military item, as common as an artillerly shell, it is covered under the regulation.

Things that have dual use application may be not be ITAR but will have higher restriction than say a car. Rocket fuel and rocket motor, may be used in ballistic missiles, so it would be one of those dual use item, like some electronic components on commercial airlines.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:03 pm

Francoflier wrote:
As for the benefits of lower latitudes for performance, I doubt it makes much difference for the size of that rocket. Whatever you would gain might well be compensated by the fact that you can launch pretty much straight onto your orbital plane without having to maneuver out of a launchpad towards it... Then again, the intricacies of orbital mechanics completely elude me.

If you launch from a higher latitude, any low inclination orbits require some significant in-orbit maneuvering. On the other hand, high inclination or retrograde orbits benefit from launch sites at high latitudes.

Virgin Orbit could take advantage of this by departing from an airport in the US but fly to the ideal spot for a given launch. A roundtrip MHV-equator-MHV is about 4,000 nmi, easily doable for a 747 even with a heavy external payload. Alternatively, they could ferry the aircraft to Guam and launch from there. In the other direction, ANC-north pole-ANC is about 4,000 nmi as well.

As long as the departure and arrival airports are on US territory there shouldn't be any legal issues.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:03 pm

mxaxai wrote:
As long as the departure and arrival airports are on US territory there shouldn't be any legal issues.


Boeing did the same thing with their Sea Launch business. The launches were fine except they got into regulatory problems with their Russian business partner.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:09 pm

Duplicate post.
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:14 pm

bikerthai wrote:
SRQLOT wrote:
Would that kind of a rocket have such secretive parts to need a special export license? I mean it wouldn’t fly to Iran or North Korea.

ITAR hardware does not necessarily have to contain secret tech. As long as it is military item, as common as an artillerly shell, it is covered under the regulation.
Things that have dual use application may be not be ITAR but will have higher restriction than say a car. Rocket fuel and rocket motor, may be used in ballistic missiles, so it would be one of those dual use item, like some electronic components on commercial airlines.
bt

I've seen ITAR labels on a piece of pipe and extremely simple design details. That whole program is a huge joke. I think the people who decide what gets classified ITAR restricted get the job by flunking out of toll taker school.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:25 pm

Nomadd wrote:
I've seen ITAR labels on a piece of pipe and extremely simple design details.


Been there, done that. Everyone was covering their butts to avoid jail. Things are much better now. Still there are some maddening interpretations.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
Raptormodeller
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:56 pm

"Cosmic Girl helps Virgin get to orbit" Can't help but smile. Congrats to the whole team. Looks awesome
https://youtu.be/Yi-fBKK7nME
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flyingturtle
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:42 am

It has been done! Yay!

Maybe they'll launch a Mig-29 from a 747 one day, and from the Mig-29 a rocket... otherwise, there is not enough delta-v for the moon...
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
889091
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Re: Virgin Orbit News & Discussion

Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:11 am

Branson should give Musk a call and ask which camera they use for their on-board video feed .... :D

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