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Long Beach's Future In Space
A Continuing Series

Long Beach Based Virgin Orbit Announces Deal With QinetiQ & HyperSat To Launch Series of Six Hyperspectral Satellites



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(April 21, 2021, 3:50 p.m.) -- Virgin Orbit, a satellite launch firm based in Long Beach's ELB Douglas Park (4022 E Conant St.) today announced that QinetiQ (a defense and security company) and HyperSat (a geospatial analytics company) will utilize Virgin Orbit to launch a series of six hyperspectral satellites into to Low Earth Orbit.

Virgin Orbit launches satellites from under the wing of a jet aircraft ("Cosmic Girl") and the firm says QinetiQ and HyperSat selected it as launch provider "in part because of the unparalleled agility, mobility, and responsiveness afforded by air-launch, which allows for shorter call-up times and more flexible scheduling for customers, as well as direct injection into precise target orbits."

In a release, Virgin Orbit says that "in addition to the value for commercial customers, this capability enables a major strategic advantage to government customers seeking to maintain unencumbered overhead intelligence."

[Virgin Orbit release text] The first satellite will launch no earlier than 2023, and will be able to image 500 spectral bands from the visible to shortwave infrared regions, with a ground sample distance of 6m. Subsequent satellites will offer longwave infrared images and more capability in the shortwave infrared region. The high spatial and spectrum pixel resolution available from its sensor payload will allow the satellites to be used not only in defense and security applications, but also for other commercial sectors, such as agriculture and insurance, where highly accurate Earth observation images can inform critical decisions.

Virgin Orbit is making good on our promise to unleash the small satellite revolution," said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. "QinetiQ's team embodies the bold energy of this new era of space. Itís extremely exciting to join with our partners to deploy new capabilities and new ideas that will shape our world."

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As part of LBREPORT.com's continuing series on Long Beach's future in space, we also follow developments with Rocket Lab, likewise officed in Douglas Park (3881 McGowen St.) The firm uses its self-manufactured rockets launched from a facility in New Zealand.

Long Beach is also home to Relativity, HQ'd at 3500 E Burnett, a firm now developing a printed rocket.

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Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.


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