Why did Virgin Orbit drop a space rocket out of an airplane?


Spread the love

Normally space rockets are fired by ground-based cosmodromes like Baikonur, but this launching method is considered to be far from the best. The fact is that when you launch from the surface of the earth, rockets are forced to lift themselves up and spend a lot of fuel on them. The company Virgin Orbit has apparently found an alternative way to send rockets into orbit. She suggests launching her directly from the air with the help of a large plane. According to the company, the rocket will be much faster to orbit and consume a minimum of fuel.

Recently, the company attempted to lift its own LauncherOne rocket with a Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft. The design of the airliner was slightly modified – special brackets were placed under its wings to hold the rocket, which it can trigger at any time. The missile defense took place at a height of 10 kilometers, but did not start the engine and went into a near-earth orbit, but simply fell into the territory of the US Air Force.

How do you shoot rockets?

The fall was planned in advance, as the company originally did not want to launch a rocket into orbit. In this test, she wanted to find out what happened to the plane and the rocket after the separation. It turned out that nothing bad happened at the same time, so that the company can certainly make a full launch at the end of 2019.

In order to ensure the safety of the pilots, the company did not fill the rocket with real fuel, but filled the tanks with a mixture of water and antifreeze. This caution is probably related to the 2014 tragedy when the spaceship SpaceShipTwo crashed in tests in California. During this incident, one of the pilots died.

Galactic tragedy of the Virgin

The test of 2014 was very similar to the current test – the company wanted to launch the SpaceShipTwo with almost the same aircraft. When the ship was separated from the plane, it exploded and fell to the ground. After this incident, the company did not dare to continue the tests for a long time, as the SpaceShipTwo was designed to bring normal people into space, so they had to seriously work on their safety.

Falling SpaceShipTwo

Who is Richard Branson?

Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic are founded by one of the richest British men, Richard Branson. In his life, the entrepreneur founded more than 400 companies that provide a variety of services. His first business, for example, was connected with the recording of songs, and now he is even involved in space projects. About all the ups and downs of a businessman written in his own book: "To hell with everything! Take it and do it! "- everyone is recommended to read it.

Maybe Richard Branson knows how to provide expensive services like no other. Space flights, which he wants to carry out for everyone (even for himself), cost from 250 thousand dollars. It may seem as if such a money would pay only a few, but for many empires such a price would be very acceptable. Branson already has a lot of experience with wealthy clients – he owns his own island called Necker and often rents them out.

Recommended to read: Important lessons learned from the SpaceShipTwo crash

If you're interested in science and technology news, subscribe to our channel in Yandex. There you will find materials that have not been published on the website!