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T-1 Day to Launch
Ready to watch LauncherOne fly into space again?

Our readiness review is complete, our launch window is set (6 AM to 8 AM PDT), and our Tubular Bells: Part One mission is currently GO for launch tomorrow morning, June 30th.

Pre-launch ground operations are well underway at Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Earlier this week, we mated the payload fairing to the rocket (yes, while it was attached to Cosmic Girl's wing), using one of our customized trailers, which is a process we'll replicate to support responsive launch campaigns at sites around the world — Cornwall, UK; Guam, US; and Oita, Japan, just to name a few.

It means a lot to us that our three customers for this mission — the U.S. Department of Defense, SatRevolution and the Royal Netherlands Air Force, each representing a different country — have entrusted LauncherOne to uplift their intrepid smallsat adventures. And it's a great indication of how we'll leverage the unique advantages of air launch to make space more accessible for folks from all corners of the map. 

We're looking forward to doing even more with this awesome set of customers, like our agreement announced today with SatRevolution to expand our strategic partnership and launch their "constellation of constellations." In addition to these future dedicated and rideshare launches, Virgin Orbit and SatRevolution will also seek new opportunities for collaboration, such as the development of integrated mission services and other activities aimed at cultivating Poland's rapidly growing space industry.
 
As a reminder, you can look forward to watching the action in real-time by tuning into our mission livestream, available via Youtube. Similar to Launch Demo 2, we'll also share mission milestone updates as they happen on Twitter (@VirginOrbit). 

See you tomorrow for Tubular Bells: Part One
 
Learn More About This Mission
G7 Comes to Cornwall

As global leaders gathered in Cornwall, UK, for this month’s G7 Summit, we had the remarkable opportunity to show off one of our LauncherOne rockets and discuss with the leaders how our system can support the space ambitions of their respective nations. 

It was a true honor and privilege to meet folks like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison — and we couldn’t have been more proud that U.S. President Joe Biden held his closing press conference in our temporary home at Spaceport Cornwall

During the event, our founder Richard Branson shared a message that encapsulates our thoughts on how small satellites can be a powerful tool to tackle issues related to climate change and sustainability. You can check that out here.

Relevant to this topic was the UK government’s announcement that it will fund the design and build of Kernow Sat 1. This historic payload will be the first to be entirely designed, manufactured and launched from Cornwall; after all, Kernow means "Cornwall" in Cornish. With research for the project spearheaded by the University of Exeter, Kernow Sat 1 will demonstrate the use of space technology for environmental monitoring, with the primary goal of helping to preserve Cornwall’s beautiful marine environment. 

We’re very much looking forward to our first launch from Spaceport Cornwall next year, and we're beyond excited to begin conducting affordable, regular flights to space from our growing network of global launch sites.

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In the News

  • This month, NASA granted ExoTerra a Phase II SBIR award for its solar electric propulsion upper stage, currently under development in partnership with Virgin Orbit. This upper stage opens a path for incredible smallsat missions traveling to desinations beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Read more in Via Satellite.
  • As the U.S. Space Force looks for ways to modernize and accelerate the country's space capabilities, the agency's plans are becoming increasingly dependent on the vibrant commercial market. Read more in SpaceNews.
  • As mentioned above, Virgin Orbit's first launch from Spaceport Cornwall will carry a fully Cornish payload, Kernow Sat 1. Learn more about the satellite's Earth science objectives in Cornwall Live.

In Our Orbit

This month, we were also proud to announce that Tyler Grinnell has joined our team to lead as Vice President of Flight and Launch. Tyler brings with him a decade and a half of aerospace experience, joining Virgin Orbit after spending 12 years at SpaceX. During his tenure as SpaceX's Director of Launch and Recovery Operations, Tyler's team executed an astounding 20 successful missions within a 12-month period. As we scale up to serve our growing manifest of customers, one of his key responsibilities will be to ensure our flight and launch teams can achieve the operational efficiencies required to support frequent and regular launches to orbit. 

Please join us in welcoming Tyler to the Virgin family! 
 
Read the Full Announcement
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