Guam selected as launch site for Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 12, 2019
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LOS ANGELES, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Guam was selected as a launch site for Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne system that will take satellites into space by a rocket attached to a modified Boeing-747 airplane.

Pacific Daily News cited Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio as reporting Thursday that U.S. Air Force's Andersen Base located in the island of the western Pacific Ocean will host launches and other exercises associated with LauncherOne while Guam International Airport is seeking a launch site operator's license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"We are keen to partner with Virgin Orbit to generate a new space industry in Guam and advance our local economy as well as spur new STEM education opportunities for our youth to take us into the future," Tenorio said.

The report said Tenorio met Virgin Orbit's officials in March.

From Guam, Virgin Orbit can send a payload of more than 500 kilogram into orbit about 500 kilometers above the equator, according to a statement released by the company, adding Guam was selected as a new launch port partly due to its remote location, but also to do with its close proximity to the equator, as the 747-launched rocket can serve all inclinations.

"Launching from Guam gives us easy access to every orbital inclination our customers need. With our air-launched system, we will fly out as any other airplane, move out to sea and release our rocket. Our minimal footprint coupled with Guam's natural launch location results in a great match," Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said.

Virgin Orbit also indicated that its LauncherOne system is in the final phases of testing and is on track to conduct its first orbital test flight later this year.

Moreover, the company said it had signed an agreement to deliver small satellites into low Earth orbit with Germany-based launch services provider and cluster integrator for small satellites EXOLAUNCH.

"Virgin Orbit aims to deliver EXOLAUNCH customers' payloads on dedicated and rideshare missions via LauncherOne as early as 2020," the statement said. Enditem

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