The former passenger airliner Boeing 747-400 previously operated by Virgin Atlantic since 2015, is now under Virgin Galactic, one of the multiple companies of Virgin Group. The plan was to transform the aircraft to make the Boeing 747-4000 the future platform for the air-launch stage of the orbital rocket. The Boeing was re-named, Cosmic Girl.
The primary purpose was to test and monitor the critical seconds before and during the release of the rocket. The test was a complete success. The smooth separation from the aircraft and the freefalls through the air.
The drop test development Program began in 2015, also the modification and design of the 747-400 named Cosmic Girl-LauncherOne.
As planned, the liftoff of LauncherOne took place from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California at Edwards Air Force Base. In the cruise altitude of 35,000 feet, Cosmic Girl release the rocket at 9:43 AM Pacific time.
The release of the missile during the separation from the aircraft Cosmic Girl was a success.
Virgin Orbit completes key drop test ahead of orbital test flight
The entire flight ( tested before on simulator) was a success, way above all expectations. A smooth release and the rocket fell away. Sir Richard Branson announced on July 10, 2019, that Virgin Orbit small satellite company completed the Program successfully.
Virgin Orbit, the small satellite launch services
Virgin Orbit is headquartered in a state-of-the-art 180,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Long Beach, California, and employs a world-class team of more than 200 experienced aerospace professionals. Its vehicles include the LauncherOne rocket and its 747-400 flying launchpad, dubbed Cosmic Girl. The LauncherOne service already has a substantial order book, including both commercial and government customers.
Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Group Holding
Virgin Orbit is the third company in Virgin Group’s commercial space portfolio, Galactic Ventures. The three companies are developing world-leading aerospace products and services in the following categories:
Virgin Orbit: small satellite launch services, headquartered in Long Beach, CA.
Virgin Galactic: human spaceflight, based in Mojave, CA during flight test and commercial service in New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
The Spaceship Company is responsible for the design, manufacturing, and testing of aerospace vehicles. It headquartered in Mojave, CA.