Virgin Orbit selects RAF pilot as it plans satellite launch program
by Ed Adamczyk
Washington (UPI) Oct 4, 2019
Virgin Orbit, a private company planning launches of orbital satellites, announced that a Royal Air Force pilot will join its team.
Flight Lt. Mathew Stannard will join the Virgin Orbit program in a three-year contract. He will be one of the company's pilots in the trials of Boeing 747-400 aircraft from which satellites will be launched. The announcement was made on Thursday in California.
Stannard is currently a Typhoon pilot with the RAF's test an evaluation squadrons.
Virgin Orbit has a business relationship with the RAF and the U.S. Air Force in demonstrating the utility of launching small satellites by means other than traditional vertical rockets.
The first "air launch" of a rocket and satellite is planned for the autumn. Last week the first rocket, LauncherOne, was taken from the company's manufacturing facility in Long Beach, Calif., to its Mojave Desert launch station. The rocket will be attached beneath the Boeing 747, first for a test flight and then a separation for travel of one orbit.
"In about six weeks, eight weeks, we will be firing the engines on the next drop test and heading at eighteen and a half thousand miles per hour around the Earth in orbit, beginning to drop off satellites," Sir Richard Branson, company founder, said last week.
Space Launch System mock up arrives at Kennedy for testing
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Oct 03, 2019
NASA's Pegasus Barge arrived at the Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to make its first delivery to Kennedy in support of the agency's Artemis missions. The upgraded 310-foot-long barge arrived Sept. 27, 2019, ferrying the 212-foot-long Space Launch System rocket core stage pathfinder. Weighing in at 228,000 pounds, the pathfinder is a full-scale mock-up of the rocket's core stage and will be used to validate ground support equipment and demonstrate it can be in ... read more
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