Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit project on Sunday successfully flew a rocket into space from the wing of a 747 plane, paving the way for a new method of launching low-cost satellites, reports AFP. It was the company’s second attempt at the feat after a failed test in May.
“LauncherOne has reached orbit! Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers,” the company tweeted from its Twitter account at 2:49 pm (2049 GMT). The plane took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert northof Los Angeles and launched the rocket over the Pacific Ocean.
Founded by British billionaire Richard Branson in 2012, Virgin Orbit wants to offer a quick and flexible service for operators of small satellites, weighing between 300 and 500 kilos (600 to 1,00 pounds), a market which is booming.
The 70-foot (21-meter) Virgin Orbit rocket, named LauncherOne, is strapped to the underside of a wing on a converted Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl.