LauncherOne is an "air-launched" rocket developed by the aerospace company Virgin Orbit. Unlike other launchers, the LauncherOne rocket is not launched from a traditional launch pad but from under the wing of a modified Boeing 747 that first raises the rocket to an altitude of about eleven kilometers. LauncherOne was specially designed to bring small satellites such as cubesats or smallsats with a maximum weight of 500 kilograms into low Earth orbit (LEO). The LauncherOne rocket was launched for the first time in May 2020 and will be airborne from various locations on Earth in the future. Learn all about the different launches of the commercial LauncherOne rocket from the space company Virgin Orbit thanks to this handy overview!
Launch overview LauncherOne
On March 16, 2023, Virgin Orbit announced a pausing of operations and furloughing of nearly its entire staff, while seeking additional funding. Causes for the event are cited as both capital management and technical. Virgin Orbit recorded a loss of US$139.5 million for the first nine months of 2022. Assets were divested to three major bidders in May 2023: Rocket Lab acquired the company's Long Beach facility, manufacturing and tooling assets for $16 million, Launcher purchased the company's Mojave test site for $3 million, and the Cosmic Girl aircraft was sold to Stratolaunch Systems for $17 million. An additional $3.8 million in assets were sold to Firefly Aerospace on June 15.
Images: Virgin Orbit