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Virgin Galactic LauncherOne


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#1 DocM

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:43

A smaller version of StratoLaunch -

http://www.virgingal...com/launcherone

http://www.virgingal.../news/item/xxx/

Virgin Galactic Reveals Privately Funded Satellite Launcher and Confirms SpaceShipTwo Poised for Powered Flight
New vehicle LauncherOne to transform small satellite market, as space tourism business powers into final leg of test flights


Today during the Farnborough International Air Show 2012 http://www.farnborough.com/, Virgin Galactic, the world s first commercial spaceline, announced LauncherOne http://www.virgingal...com/launcherone, a new air-launched rocket specifically designed to deliver small satellites into orbit. With substantial funding already raised from Virgin Galactic s partner aabar Investments PJS http://www.aabar.com, and with commercial flights of this new orbital launch vehicle expected to begin by 2016, Virgin Galactic aims to offer frequent and dedicated launches at the world s lowest prices. Virgin Galactic also announced that four private companies have already put down deposits as future LauncherOne customers, expressing their intent to purchase a total of several dozen launches, which would exceed the level of early commitment of any previous new launch vehicle.

At the same event, Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson revealed that the company has now accepted deposits for suborbital flights on SpaceShipTwo from 529 future astronauts, a number greater than the total count of people who have been to space throughout human history. This news comes following a flurry of recent test activity and confirmation that all major components of SpaceShipTwo s http://www.virgingal...iew/spaceships/ rocket system have been qualified for powered flight, on track to begin before the year s end.

Virgin Galactics goal is to revolutionize the way we get to space, Branson said. I m immensely proud of what we have already achieved as we draw near to regular suborbital flights on SpaceShipTwo. Now, LauncherOne is bringing the price of satellite launch into the realm of affordability for innovators everywhere, from start-ups and schools to established companies and national space agencies. It will be a critical new tool for the global research community, enabling us all to learn about our home planet more quickly and affordably.

LauncherOne will be a two-stage vehicle capable of carrying up to 500 pounds (225 kilograms) to orbit for prices below $10 million. The rocket will be launched from Virgin Galactic s proven WhiteKnightTwo http://www.virgingal...iew/spaceships/, the uniquely capable aircraft also designed to carry SpaceShipTwo aloft to begin her suborbital missions. Thanks to the extreme flexibility of air launch, Virgin Galactic s customers will enjoy reduced infrastructure costs in addition to the wide range of possible launch locations tailored to individual mission requirements and weather conditions. Branson and other senior executives announced that work has already begun on the vehicle.

Virgin Galactic continues to innovate space access, and LauncherOne is a key step in its successful commercialization, said Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO of aabar Investments PJS. This development promises to redefine the small satellite market and to promote new research and education opportunities. aabar is proud to be partnering in this exciting journey by continuing to support Virgin Galactic and its initiatives.

Several LauncherOne customers were recognized at the event, representing a broad range of commercial satellite applications. Those named were Skybox Imaging http://www.skyboximaging.com/ (Skybox), a Silicon Valley-based firm that recently announced it has raised $91 million for a high resolution imaging constellation; GeoOptics Inc. http://geooptics.com/, a U.S.-based company developing a constellation of non-imaging remote sensing satellites; Spaceflight, Inc. http://www.spaceflig...s.com/MHome.php, the aggregator and integrator of small satellites; and Planetary Resources, Inc., the newly-announced, billionaire-backed asteroid mining venture.

Speaking at the event, Skybox CEO Tom Ingersoll said, Skybox s objective is to provide world-class, affordable access to space imagery and information, and in order to do so, we need world-class, affordable access to space. Virgin Galactic is unique in having the right mix of ingredients to support our vision, as well as that of the growing small satellite community. We plan to make full use of LauncherOne.

Also today, two world leaders in small satellite manufacturing, Surrey Satellite Technology http://www.sst-us.com/ and Sierra Nevada Space Systems http://www.sncspace.com/, announced that they would create optimized satellite designs to match LauncherOne s performance specifications. These optimized designs will allow customers to maximize the capability and minimize the time to market for their satellites. Sir Martin Sweeting, the founder of Surrey Satellite, spoke at the event about the growing potential of the small satellite industry.

Small satellite launch is an area ripe for disruption, said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. Miniaturized satellite components and constrained budgets are driving commercial clients, academic users and government agencies all to clamor for an affordable, dedicated launch vehicle. Now, thanks to aabars investment, our existing capabilities, and the expert team we ve already assembled, we re prepared to fill that void by bringing LauncherOne to market.

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#2 Dan~

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:58

He's still my best English person of all time to be honest, makes me proud! Now I just have to save up £130k!

#3 OP DocM

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:14



#4 OP DocM

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 15:13

Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining outfit, is on board to launch their constellation of compact space telescopes -

http://www.planetary...c-tech-details/

First off some news! Yesterday Eric Anderson was at the Farnborough Air Show with Richard Branson (more news on Branson in a future email) announcing that Planetary had put down a deposit and signed up as one of the Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne early launch customers. LauncherOne uses the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft to launch an orbital booster which delivers about 225 Kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). That’s enough payload to launch about 8 Arkyd-100 satellites. While we will be using other launch services until LauncherOne comes online, as well as larger launchers for our deep space missions (think Falcon 9), once LauncherOne is operating, it will serve us well.
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#5 OP DocM

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 07:58

The market for LauncherOne is materializing, as are their intentions.

Using modern parts & techniques satellites can be made MUCH smaller, some weighing just a few kilograms. NASA recently demonstrated even cell phone techs can be adapted to them. There are also tiny and inexpensive solar-electric ion and plasma propulsion systems for micro & mini satellites, allowing them to maneuver and even change orbits.

Even the US military is talking about redundant networked arrays (constellations) of mini and micro satellites because they're cheaper to deploy and much harder to take out. Similar advantages apply to telecommunications from satellite phones to satellite internet. Also advantageous is that they are more amenable to rapid replacement and launch-on-need.

With LauncherOne Virgin Galactic is taking direct aim at this market

Virgin Galactic LauncherOne page....

A Space News article on VG addresses this....

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Virgin too has its eye on orbital space transportation, but plans to build up to it from suborbital flight services -- including point-to-point travel -- and from a fledging satellite-launching business that uses the spaceship’s carrier WhiteKnightTwo aircraft.

“All of these things are now possible,” Branson said. “We will be ramping up our spaceship-building program over the next three years. We believe the demand will exceed supply and now that we’ve gotten through this milestone, we’ll certainly be expanding the program.”

Branson said he expects to add another $100 million or so to the $500 million already spent on the SpaceShipTwo project, but ticket sales won’t be Virgin’s only return on investment.

With two WhiteKnight carrier aircraft, Virgin Galactic can put 3,500 small satellites into orbit per month.

“That can do radical things for telecommunications, internet access, wi-fi and so on. It’s many, many more than anyone else has the capability of doing,” Branson said.


“Because we’re not land-based, it’s much easier for us to do it without having to wait in a long queue to do so. We can replace satellites in 24 hours, and we can put an array in very quickly,” he said.






#6 Crisp

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 08:58

What I don't get is people are bitching about space junk, while Virgin want you to put more satellites in space?

What?!

#7 OP DocM

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 15:24

Nano & mini sats are in low Earth orbit and controllable , meaning after their ion thruster fuel runs low they can easily be deorbited. Virtually all new satellites have this capability.

The space junk that's a problem are older sats and rocket stages that can't be deorbited, stage separation debris from when it was always done using explosive bolts (now electromechanical releases & pushers are typical), paint flecks, and especially debris from the Chinese anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) test a few yeats ago and especially satellites & debris that collide with other sats or debris - making more & even smaller bits..

Much of the abovd thats below 150-200km will eventually deorbit itself from high atmospheric drag (yes, it goes that high - wispy, but still), but in higher orbits it's much more persistent.

#8 OP DocM

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 00:46

MOJAVE, Calif. Virgin Galactic PR) – Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, announced today that pilots Frederick “CJ” Sturckow and Michael “Sooch” Masucci have been selected to join its commercial flight team. As Virgin Galactic clears its final flight test program milestones with powered flight tests now under way, the necessary addition of new pilots will enable the company to meet the test schedule demands and prepare for subsequent commercial operations.

Sturckow, a veteran of four space shuttle missions and retired U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Colonel, is the first NASA astronaut to be hired into Galactic’s pilot corps. Masucci, a retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Lieutenant Colonel, joins Virgin Galactic from XOJET Inc, a private airline company where he was a Citation X (CE750) Captain and Check Airman. Masucci and Sturckow will report to Chief Pilot David Mackay and Vice President of Operations Mike Moses at Virgin Galactic’s Mojave, Calif., location where they will conduct flight training and testing with Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo vehicles.

Sturckow has more than 26 years of military flight experience and has logged more than 1,200 hours in space. During his flight career, Sturckow logged over 6,500 flight hours, flew more than 60 different aircraft, and was chosen to attend the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN). Selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps in December 1994, Sturckow flew on four space shuttle missions to the International Space Station. In 2009, after 25 years of active duty service, Sturckow retired from the USMC. Sturckow went on to serve as deputy chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office for the final shuttle missions, flying weather reconnaissance in the T-38 and Shuttle Training Aircraft for launch and landing.

“Viewing the Earth from space is such a unique and unforgettable experience,” Sturckow said. “I’m excited to be a part of the Virgin Galactic team that is revolutionizing access to space, making this opportunity a possibility for all.”

Masucci has more than 30 years of civilian and military operational and test flying experience with more than 9,000 flight hours in over 70 different airplane and glider types. A distinguished graduate of USAF pilot training in 1986, he completed USAF Test Pilot School in 1993 and went on to serve as a U-2 combat pilot in several important operations. He instructed in the F-16, T-38 and glider aircraft at the USAF Test Pilot School, while also serving as a Branch Chief. As a U-2 test pilot he was instrumental in the development and testing of the aircraft’s glass cockpit and power upgrade programs. In addition, Masucci has commanded USAF developmental and operational test units, as well as combat and training units.

“Virgin Galactic is truly a world-class organization with unique flight opportunities that you just won’t find anywhere else,” Masucci said. “I’m proud to be a part of this team and look forward to contributing to this revolutionary program.”

“I am pleased to have these two incredibly accomplished pilots join us during this important time as we embark on a series of important rocket-powered flight tests for SpaceShipTwo, ultimately testing the vehicle in space,” said Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides. “Their collective experience and outstanding performance in various demanding environments will make them invaluable assets to the Virgin Galactic team.”