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Virgin Orbit Announces Its Entry to the Small Satellite Market

By Kendall Russell | March 3, 2017
      LauncherOne group photo.

      LauncherOne group photo. Photo: Virgin Galactic.

      Virgin Galactic has announced that its family of space companies now numbers three. Virgin Galactic will continue to provide commercial human spaceflight services and The Spaceship Company will continue to offer design, manufacturing and testing services to build vehicles for Virgin Galactic. But its small satellite LauncherOne team will become a new company: Virgin Orbit, led by President Dan Hart, who joins Orbit after 34 years at Boeing.

      Virgin Orbit is the newest addition to Virgin Group’s commercial space portfolio, Galactic Ventures, led by Chief Executive Officer George T. Whitesides and owned by the Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS.

      According to the Washington Post, Virgin Orbit “already has several commercial and government customers signed up” and will operate out of a manufacturing site in Long Beach, California. It plans to air launch its rockets from Virgin Galactic’s 747-400 aircraft, nicknamed “Cosmic Girl.”

      The company stated it will share more details in the coming months, launch new websites and unveil Virgin Orbit’s brand identity.