Virgin Orbit Completes Launch Rehearsal Ahead of Cornwall Flight
Virgin Orbit has completed a full wet dress rehearsal ahead of its first flight from Spaceport Cornwall. The window for the launch is still to be determined by the launch permitting regulatory process.
Virgin Orbit said Wednesday that this rehearsal marked the final major acceptance test of the rocket prior to mating to its carrier aircraft, the Boeing 747 “Cosmic Girl,” and then starting pre-launch operations. Customer satellites are set to be integrated into the rocket’s fairing starting this week in the new Space Systems Integration Facility (SSIF) at Spaceport Cornwall.
The Cornwall launch is set to be the first orbital space launch from the U.K. The mission was originally targeted for this past summer, and then September, but a launch window has not been set yet.
The mission will launch two cubesats that are a joint mission between the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the United States’ National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in addition to other satellites for the government of Oman and Space Forge.
Virgin Orbit has a number of other agreements in the works to bring its LauncherOne, air-launched rocket to spaceports around the world. The company also has agreements in place with Brazil, Japan, Australia, Poland, and South Korea.