in Space

Virgin Orbit to launch 11 satellites for NASA on Launch Demo 2

Posted 6 August 2020 · Add Comment

Virgin Orbit’s upcoming Launch Demo 2 mission on LauncherOne will carry 11 small satellites from NASA onboard, as part of NASA’s CubeSat Initiative (CSLI).



Above: NASA - Virgin Orbit mission 2020.
Image courtesy Virgin Orbit


The mission is planned to occur before the end of the year, with Virgin Orbit’s carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Once in orbit, the satellites will conduct a variety of scientific studies and demonstrate new spacecraft technology. By supporting NASA, university-led scientific research and orbital technology demonstrations, the mission strikes at the heart of Virgin Orbit’s purpose of opening access to space for good.



NASA was one of the first customers to sign up for a flight onboard Virgin Orbit’s new rocket, purchasing a flight through a competitive selection process run by NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services programme (VLCS), which was designed to help open the door for future dedicated launch opportunities through new, firm fixed-price commercial launch capabilities. True to the spirit of the VCLS program, NASA has elected to fly on this Launch Demo-2 test flight. Nearly every satellite that will be onboard LauncherOne for this mission has been fully designed and built by universities across the US.

The missions manifested for flight include:

  • PolarCube (University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado)
  • MiTEE (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • CACTUS-1 (Capitol Technology University, Laurel, Maryland)
  • Q-PACE (University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida)
  • TechEdSat-7 (NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California)
  • RadFXSat-2 (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee)
  • EXOCUBE (California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, California)
  • CAPE-3 (University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana)
  • PICS (Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah). This mission consists of multiple CubeSats.
  • INCA (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico)

Once in orbit, the satellites will conduct a variety of scientific studies as well as demonstrate new spacecraft technology.

“Expanding our domestic capability for small satellite launches is of great importance to NASA, CSLI and the Launch Services Programme,” said Scott Higginbotham, mission manager and CSLI/ELaNa lead for NASA. “The combination of innovative small satellites and new dedicated launch vehicles like the ones we are using through the VLCS programme will help unlock new ways for NASA to conduct science and to advance space technology. We are excited to be part of this important demonstration mission and to have the opportunity to put these amazing spacecraft into orbit.”

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said: “We are so very honoured to be supporting NASA by flying these payloads on our upcoming Launch Demo mission. NASA’s mission, coupled with the opportunity to provide a boost to space for university students, is incredibly inspiring to our whole team. It aligns perfectly with our central theme being to open space for everyone. The Virgin Orbit team is hard at work putting the final touches on our next rocket and doing everything possible to assure a safe and successful flight."

 



 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Airbus reveals new zero-emission concept aircraft

Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft, all running on hydrogen, which could enter service by 2035.

Filtronic appoints GTP as North American sales channel representative

Designer and manufacturer of RF, microwave and mmWave products for the wireless telecoms, mission-critical communications and defence applications markets, Filtronic plc, has signed an exclusive agreement with Global Telecom

Alloyed collaborates with TANIOBIS on alloy powder development

Kidlington based Alloyed is working collaboratively with TANIOBIS, to identify, develop, produce, and implement innovative high quality titanium and refractory alloy metal powders for advanced manufacturing applications,

Airbus selected for ESA’s new polar ice and snow topography mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus to develop and build the Copernicus polar ice and snow topography mission (CRISTAL).

Primary schools invited to take RAF Glider Challenge

Primary schools across the UK are being invited to join a half-day virtual STEM workshop, free of charge.

Royal Marines Commandos to wear CORDURA NYCO uniforms

Chosen for its durability and high-performance characteristics, CORDURA NYCO fabric is being used to produce the next generation of highly advanced uniforms for the Royal Marines Commandos, designed and manufactured by Crye

Getac SK2606280920
See us at