A Continuing Series
|(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.
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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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