Virgin Orbit Stories February 20

Richard Branson’s satellite launcher Virgin Orbit has selected their first Chief Operating Officer to help get the company ready for commercial operations after the success of their Demo 2 mission. This mission successfully deployed 10 NASA payloads from NASA’s Launch Services Program into orbit around Earth bringing them officially online as a company capable to send satellites into orbit.

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Virgin Orbit Stories January 25

On the heals of their first successful launch into orbit earlier this month, Virgin Orbit has been selected to send a new payload for the Royal Netherlands Royal Air Force called BRIK-II, a payload named after the their first airplane.

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Virgin Orbit Stories January 18

Virgin Orbit attempted its second demonstration launch on Sunday after their first attempt failed shortly after the first stage ignition last year. This time around they didn’t just launch a mass simulator but actual payloads from NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites program ElaNa 20 which contained several CubeSats from universities across the nation.

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Virgin Orbit Stories January 7

January 7: VO now has a more firm date of Wednesday, January 13.

Virgin Orbit has announced the next test opportunity for its Launch Demo 2 mission from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The mission will test launching a rocket to space from the wing of an airplane.

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Virgin Orbit Stories December 23, 2020

Virgin Orbit planned to conduct its second Launch Demo mission before the end of the year, but the spread of COVID-19 forced the team to halt pre-flight work this month. After following recommended safety guidelines, the team at Virgin Orbit is back on track, the company shared today. Virgin Orbit’s launch approach involves dropping a space-bound rocket called LauncherOne from the wing of a 747 plane named Cosmic Girl.

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Virgin Orbit Stories December 14, 2020

Virgin Orbit forced to halt prep for next plane-based rocket launch test due to COVID-19

Virgin Orbit is developing a launch system that can deploy small rockets from anywhere on the planet, but the spread of COVID-19 continues to affect the pace of progress.

Virgin Orbit Stories December 7, 2020

Virgin Orbit has added Jim Simpson to its executive team to serve as the launch company’s first Chief Strategy Officer. Simpson filling the CSO role is the latest sign that Virgin Orbit is maturing and preparing for commercial service. VO is scheduled to launch its second demonstration flight in less than two weeks.

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Virgin Orbit Stories November 30, 2020

After the first Demo Mission of its LauncherOne air launch system ended in the ocean rather than orbit, Virgin Orbit plans to launch Demo Mission 2 on December 19. This will be its second-ever launch attempt, and this time, it will be adding customer payloads to the top of the rocket.

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Virgin Orbit Stories August 3, 2020

Virgin Orbit will return to flight as soon as late 2020 with a second demonstration mission aimed at dropping a space-bound LauncherOne rocket from the wing of a 747 plane named Cosmic Girl. The second orbital flight test will include NASA payload this time with 11 small satellites onboard for deployment.

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Virgin Orbit Stories July 16, 2020

In a moment when the nation is rethinking how we memorialize historical figures who represent different values than our society today, an important NASA facility located in Mississippi is receiving national attention over its name.

Stennis Space Center is a NASA engine test facility located just north of Interstate I-10 in Hancock County, Mississippi. The NASA site is 39 miles east of NASA’s neighboring Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s not uncommon for engineers and project managers from nearby Slidell, Louisiana, to work at the Mississippi test facility.

The NASA site takes its name from the late Senator John Cornelius Stennis, a celebrated U.S. senator from Mississippi who served in Congress for over 41 years. Mr. Stennis can be described as a proponent of racial segregation based on the senator’s statements and voting record on civil rights policy while in office.

The issue of Stennis Space Center’s name has since been raised to NASA leadership. Today, the possibility of a new name is considered possible, but opposition from statewide and national leadership could be a roadblock.

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