LauncherOne

LauncherOne is a two-stage orbital launch vehicle developed and flown by Virgin Orbit that began operational flights in 2021, after being in development from 2007 to 2020. It is an air-launched rocket, designed to carry smallsat payloads of up to 300 kg into Sun-synchronous orbit, following air launch from a carrier aircraft at high altitude. The rocket is carried to the upper atmosphere on a modified Boeing 747-400, named Cosmic Girl, and released over ocean. Initial work on the program was done by Virgin Galactic, another Virgin Group subsidiary, before a separate entity — Virgin Orbit — was formed in 2017 to complete development and operate the launch service provider business separately from the passenger-carrying Virgin Galactic business. The first successful flight was on 17 January 2021, which delivered a payload of 10 CubeSats to low Earth orbit. Three further launches have since successfully reached orbit.

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LauncherOne rocket from failed Virgin Orbit launch spotted crashing to Earth (video)