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Thread: Virgin Orbit: LauncherOne

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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default Virgin Orbit: LauncherOne

    Using modern parts & techniques satellites can be made MUCH smaller, some weighing just a few kilograms. NASA recently demonstrated even cell phone techs can be adapted to them. There are also tiny and inexpensive solar-electric ion and plasma propulsion systems for micro & mini satellites, allowing them to maneuver and even change orbits.

    Even the US military is talking about redundant networked arrays (constellations) of mini and micro satellites because they're cheaper to deploy and much harder to take out. Similar advantages apply to telecommunications from satellite phones to satellite internet. Also advantageous is that they are more amenable to rapid replacement and launch-on-need.

    With LauncherOne Virgin Galactic is taking direct aim at this market

    Virgin Galactic LauncherOne page....

    A Space News article on VG addresses this....

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    Virgin too has its eye on orbital space transportation, but plans to build up to it from suborbital flight services -- including point-to-point travel -- and from a fledging satellite-launching business that uses the spaceship’s carrier WhiteKnightTwo aircraft.

    “All of these things are now possible,” Branson said. “We will be ramping up our spaceship-building program over the next three years. We believe the demand will exceed supply and now that we’ve gotten through this milestone, we’ll certainly be expanding the program.”

    Branson said he expects to add another $100 million or so to the $500 million already spent on the SpaceShipTwo project, but ticket sales won’t be Virgin’s only return on investment.

    With two WhiteKnight carrier aircraft, Virgin Galactic can put 3,500 small satellites into orbit per month.

    “That can do radical things for telecommunications, internet access, wi-fi and so on. It’s many, many more than anyone else has the capability of doing,” Branson said.

    “Because we’re not land-based, it’s much easier for us to do it without having to wait in a long queue to do so. We can replace satellites in 24 hours, and we can put an array in very quickly,” he said.


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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    This begs the question of NewtonTwo replacing the hybrid on SpaceShipTwo.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Jan. 23, 2014

    VIRGIN GALACTIC ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL TEST FIRINGS OF NEW LIQUID ROCKET ENGINES FOR LAUNCHERONE

    Company developing rocket engines designed and built in house for its affordable, responsive small satellite launch service

    MOJAVE, Calif. Virgin Galactic, the worlds first commercial spaceline, announced today that it has reached a significant milestone in the testing of a new family of liquid rocket engines for LauncherOne, the companys small satellite launch vehicle.* As part of a rapid development program, Virgin Galactic has now hot-fired both a 3,500 lbf thrust rocket engine and a 47,500 lbf thrust rocket engine, called the NewtonOne and NewtonTwo respectively.* Further, the NewtonOne engine has successfully completed a full-mission duty cycle on the test stand, firing for the five-minute duration expected of the upper stage engine on a typical flight to orbit.* These tests are being conducted on two new state-of-the-art test stands that the team designed, assembled and installed internally.

    We are proud of the great progress our propulsion team has made in reaching these milestones, said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides.* Combined with parallel progress made by the company in advanced tank and avionics technology, we are now well on our way to providing customers with the lowest cost opportunity for small satellite manufacturers and operators to buy a dedicated ride to space.

    The new rocket engines were designed and assembled in-house by Virgin Galactic engineers and technicians, and mark the first firings of engines designed and built by the privately-funded company, owned by Sir Richard Bransons Virgin Group and Abu Dhabis aabar Investments PJS.*

    As part of the ongoing test program, the NewtonOne engine has now been fired dozens of times, achieving the target thrust during a full-duration test. The test team has successfully completed as many as six distinct test firings in a single day, as a demonstration of the rapid test-retest capability critical to the liquid engine program. The larger NewtonTwo engine has also been fired multiple times at short duration, with longer duration firings scheduled to occur in the coming months. Additionally, Virgin Galactic engineers and technicians successfully completed a quick turnaround test in which engines were swapped out and fired within 12 hours, an important early demonstration of LauncherOnes responsive, quick call-up capability and of the versatility of both the engines and the test stand.

    The unique environment in Mojave enables the team to design, manufacture, assemble and test the engines in a single location, which allows us to make progress swiftly, said Whitesides.*

    Both engines were custom-designed by Virgin Galactic to serve as the propulsion system for the LauncherOne satellite launch vehicle, which uses a single NewtonOne on the upper stage and a single NewtonTwo on the main stage. Both engines are simple, pressure-fed LOX/RP-1 systems built with a low part-count design. The NewtonTwo engine is a scaled-up version of the NewtonOne, sized to serve as the first stage engine for LauncherOne, with a nozzle optimized for air-launched performance. Powered by those two engines, LauncherOne will carry small satellites to low-Earth orbit affordably and responsively, enabling a new generation of private and government missions.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    I carry a gun because I can't throw a rock 1,250 fps

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    Default

    Images of Newton




    Test site
    Dr. Mordrid
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    FAA just issued a launch license for later his summer.

    Like Pegasus, but far cheaper and with a much quicker launch cadence. They're making their own engine series in multiple sizes, the Newton.

    http://spacenews.com/virgin-orbit-ge...y-test-flight/

    Virgin Orbit gears up for captive carry test flight

    RENTON, Wash. Virgin Orbit is planning a key test of its LauncherOne system as soon as next week, a final step before the vehicles first launch later this summer.

    In a speech at the NewSpace 2018 Conference here June 27, Stephen Eisele, vice president of business development of Virgin Orbit, said that company was gearing up for a captive carry test of its air-launch rocket, flown on a customized Boeing 747.

    Were going to be doing our next major milestone in probably a little over a week, which is going to be a captive carry test, he said. On that test, the 747 will take off with the LauncherOne rocket attached to its wing, but not launched.

    That flight, he said, will gather flutter and aerodynamics testing data. The next test after that is the first orbital flight.

    Workers will be attaching the pylon that holds LauncherOne to the aircrafts left wing in the next few days, he said. If everything goes well there, well conduct our first captive carry test, he said. The flight will take place from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

    Only a single captive carry flight is currently scheduled, he said, but added it doesnt preclude us from doing another if needed. That test will also include demonstrating the deployment mechanism, releasing the inert LauncherOne test article to drop back to Earth.

    If that flight is a success, Eisele said the company would be ready to conduct its first orbital test of LauncherOne later this summer.
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    CONCEPT


    LauncherOne


    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 30th June 2018 at 18:31.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

    I carry a gun because I can't throw a rock 1,250 fps

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