Richard Branson’s Virgin Sends 7 Satellites to Space in First Launch Since IPO
(Bloomberg) -- Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. launched satellites for three customers as the newly public company prepares to expand operations outside the U.S. later this year.
Virgin’s Boeing Co. 747 aircraft departed at 1:39 p.m. Thursday local time in Mojave, California. It then released the 70-foot Launcher One rocket carrying seven small satellites at 2:53 p.m. about 30,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean, roughly 50 miles southwest of the Channel Islands.
Virgin Orbit said on its webcast that the rocket performed normally during its ascent. The shares rose 3.7% to $9.75 in late trading after the rocket’s launch.
The payload consists of satellites for the U.S. Defense Department and Colorado-based Spire Global Inc. as well as two nanosatellites for SatRevolution, a manufacturer based in Wroclaw, Poland. They will orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers (311 miles).
Virgin Orbit, which was founded by Richard Branson, is targeting five more missions this year, including two in the summer from Cornwall, U.K., which will be the company’s first international foray. Virgin plans to launch from Japan as soon as 2023 and eventually to make flights from Guam and Brazil.
The latest mission was named “Above the Clouds,” after a song on the Gang Starr album “Moment of Truth,” released in 1998 by Virgin Records.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.