Home Technology Virgin Orbit’s revolutionary rocket gets close but doesn’t make it to space

Virgin Orbit’s revolutionary rocket gets close but doesn’t make it to space

3 min read

It’s clear that the space race is real. Except, only this time it’s not two governments looked in a cold-war willing to spend massive amounts of money trying to out-do each other, but private companies trying to develop and launch rockets in a more reusable and budget-friendly manner. And while it might not be driven by a tense environment like the cold war, it’s every bit as competitive as that early space race was as well.

Between Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Orbit and  Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, building rockets is not just a playground for billionaire’s, but seen as the next frontier of economic development and tourism and hence why they are all investing large portions of their fortune in these various endeavours. Musk’s SpaceX is arguably in the lead at the moment with regards to the development of its rockets, but Branson’s Virgin Orbit (which s focusing on launching satellites into space, like SpaceX and not space tourism) is also catching up and recently tested a new rocket launch from the underbelly of a modified Boeing 747.

The idea behind Virgin’s approach is a more cost-effective way of launching rockets into space, though according to a new Twitter release by the company, things didn’t quite go according to plan for them:

If Virgin were to be successful in their approach, they would be able to launch satellites into space at a cheaper cost than the likes of SpaceX, Rocket Lab or other competitors and is something that Branson believes is the next step in the rocket game. Sadly, it’s a dream that still needs to live longer while the company sorts out the issues that affected this last launch.

Th company hasn’t revealed any details on what went wrong with the last launch, though in a tweet revealed that they believe it will get resolved quickly

The company is preparing for its first paid launch, that is scheduled for June 29th, which will see e company collaborate with NASA and several universities to launch small satellites into the atmosphere for research purposes. It’s an exciting time following the space race again and see how we can achieve sending things into space with a fraction of the effort than we issued to and make it a viable commercial activity. Either that or perhaps they know something we don’t and are preparing to get themselves out into the safety of space before the world goes boom. I think I watch too many movies.

Last Updated: May 28, 2020

One Comment

  1. HvR

    May 30, 2020 at 13:08

    Unfortunately I think Virgin Orbit is dead in the water; they needed this launch to be a lot more successful.

    They missed deadlines with their main competitor Rocketlab already up and running with dozen successful flights under their belt with the Electron rocket and coming in at half the cost per launch with only slightly smaller payload capability. Electron is already at half the cost of the projected cost of a LunacherOne launch; this gap will be even wider if RocketLab can pull off mid air booster retrieval. Virgin Orbit also lost more than 90% of their commercial contracts.


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