Virgin Orbit partners with the Southwest Research Institute to explore research opportunities on future flights

Virgin Orbit announced a partnership with the Texas-based nonprofit Southwest Research Institute to work on future research missions.

Virgin Orbit announced in a recent press release that the company is partnering with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for future missions on the LauncherOne rocket.  Founded in 1947, SwRI is a nonprofit research group located in San Antonio, Texas. The group has previously worked on instruments that have flown on NASA and ESA missions. Additionally, the group focuses on heliophysics and planetary science. A partnership with Virgin Orbit opens up opportunities for SwRI to conduct experiments in space—even if for brief periods of time—and test their instruments.

“As the Virgin Orbit team works to build on our recent successes, we’re excited to join forces with organizations like SwRI to propel forward our mission of opening space for good. We’re especially looking forward to combining our uniquely responsive air launch capabilities with SwRI’s broad spacecraft expertise to provide turnkey solutions for our most pressing environmental challenges.”

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart
Virgin Orbit’s Long Beach manufacturing facility // credit: Virgin Orbit

As part of the agreement, Virgin Orbit will look at the possibility of manufacturing SwRI Space Vehicle platforms at its manufacturing facility in Long Beach, California. Virgin Orbit and SwRI will also evaluate opportunities to develop and launch missions to space together, including the deployment of satellite constellations, to provide comprehensive space service offerings to customers.

Virgin Orbit Presss Release

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