Billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit rocket launched satellites into Earth's orbit for the first time on January 17. The rocket was launched from a wing of an old Boeing 747 jet plane. Theoretically, this method would allow launching rockets from anywhere in the world.
The launch took place in the Mojave Desert in California, the company said.
A LauncherOne rocket was docked under the wing of a Boeing 747 jet, dubbed Cosmic Girl. The plane reached an altitude of 10,500 meters, tilted slightly, and fired a rocket.
A few seconds later, the engine of LauncherOne started working, and the rocket began to gain altitude. The company subsequently confirmed that the rocket had successfully deployed 10 small satellites in orbit for NASA. In total, the company noted that the launch went exactly as planned.
Virgin Orbit tried to launch a rocket last May, but then the rocket failed to enter orbit.
Virgin Orbit is billionaire Richard Branson's company that plans to provide small satellite launch services. The company uses a jet aircraft to launch rockets with satellites, and this theoretically allows rockets to be launched from anywhere on the planet where there is a runway. But first, Virgin Orbit must obtain licenses for such a launch. So far, the license has only been issued in California.