Virgin Orbit is back at it again with their one-of-a-kind LauncherOne rocket. Wednesday, the rocket will launch mid-air from Virgin Orbit’s custom Boeing 747 with several customer satellites onboard. Here’s everything we know and how you can watch it live.
On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Virgin Orbit’s third commercial flight, named Above the Clouds, will take-off between approximately 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST (21:00 – 23:30 GMT) from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Virgin’s specially fit plane, Cosmic Girl, will carry the rocket to an altitude of about 35,000 feet (11,000 m) over the Pacific ocean before dropping and igniting roughly one hour into the flight.
Virgin Orbit has successfully placed 19 satellites in orbit for customers in both the public and private sectors. On the heels of those successful missions, this week’s launch will carry several more satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) belonging to the U.S. Department of Defense, a Polish company SatRevolution, and a satellite imaging provider Spire Global.
The mission name Above the Clouds pays homage to hip hop sensation Gang Starr’s album, Moment of Truth, which was released by Virgin Records in 1998. The fifth track of the album is titled Above the Clouds, featuring Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan. The song is hailed as a favorite by the space company, mainly with how the title reflects how the mission will be conducted.