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Virgin Galactic Moves Ahead In The Space Race

Virgin Galactic Moves Ahead In The Space Race

Virgin Galactic Chief Executive George Whitesides this week revealed plans for the company's latest rocket, which will be able to carry around 400 pounds worth of satellites in to orbit for some $10 million. The rocket, called LauncherOne, is expected to be ready for its first launch by early 2017.

Satellite Business

Virgin Galactic was originally set up by Richard Branson in an effort to make space flights available to tourists. However, with the global market for micro satellite launches growing rapidly, Branson quickly expanded the company to cover that space as well.

Related Link: Richard Branson Talks Virgin Origin Story, Reveals Why He's Successful

Companies wanting to launch satellites into orbit have historically had to wait for another mission with room to carry their devices, making the process lengthy and uncertain. However, Virgin Galactic is hoping to better meet such companies' needs by offering dedicated, unconstrained space flights aimed at launching satellites for things like research and observation.

Removing Barriers

Not only is Virgin Galactic working to offer dedicated satellite launches, but the company has also developed a system which will allow the satellites to launch from a commercial airplane rather than a traditional rocket. The aircraft will take off with the rockets fixed to its undercarriage. Once at a certain altitude, they will be dropped and their engines fired to send them into orbit.

This system is expected to reduce the time constraints associated with reserving space at a rocket launchpad and overcomes some of the weather conditions that often delay space flights.


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