+ Long Beach Based <i>Virgin Orbit</i> Puts Its Plane-Launched Rocket Payload Into Orbit
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LB's Future In Space
(A Continuing Series)

Long Beach Based Virgin Orbit Puts Its Plane-Launched Rocket Payload Into Orbit



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(Jan. 17, 2021) -- LBREPORT.com's continuing coverage of Long Beach's future in space is pleased to report that ong Beach-based Virgin Orbit has today (Jsn. 17) successfully placed its jet-plane-launched rocket payload into orbit.

Screen save from VirginOrbit Twitter video

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, based at 4022 East Conant St. next to LB Airport in East Long Beach's Douglas Park, has pioneered a rocket launch system that puts payloads into orbit from a rocket launched from under the wing of the firm's "Cosmic Girl" jet aircraft. Cosmic Girl took off from the Mojave desert and went through a looping maneuver over the Pacific Ocean to launch its nine satellite payload into orbit.

An initial attempt to deploy the plane-launched rocket fizzled in May 2020 and whatever issues bedeviled the first launch was successfully remedied today.

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As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, Virgin Orbit is one of two space-focused firms in Long Beach planning a space launch in the coming days. Rocket Lab (HQ'd at 3881 McGowen Street) plans to launch a communications satellite for the OHB group that it says "will enable will enable specific frequencies to support future services from orbit."it will be Rocket Labís 18th mission using its "Electron" rocket. The firm chose Long Beach for its corporate presence, specializes in small satellite launches; it has a launch facility in New Zealand where it also maintains its production facility.


Image via RocketLab

A 10-day launch window remains open through January 25, after an initial Jan 15 launch date was put off after a company Twitter feed said an inclinometer showed "some strange data."

In November 2020, Rocket Lab made headlines by successfully orbiting thirty satellites in a single launch AND using parachute technology to recover the launch rocket. (LBREPORT.com coverage here.)

Rocket Lab's accomplishment earned online kudos from Elon Musk (LBREPORT.com coverage here). Mr. Musk's Space X firm pioneered landing and recovering its own used rockets.

A third space-launch firm, SpinLaunch is currently developing facilities at Long Beach Douglas Park. It's reportedly developing a kinetic energy space launch system aimed at reducing reliance on chemical rockets to lower launch costs and increase launch frequency.

LBREPORT.com will continue to provide detailed coverage of Long Beach's role in the growing space-related industry.


Jan. 18, 5:52 a.m.: Added Virgin Orbit Twitter video screen savce of rocket deployment
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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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