BUSINESS: Virgin Orbit’s Newest Mission Soars ‘Above The Clouds’ Again

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by Daniel Webster, dWeb.News Publisher

MOJAVE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), the responsive launch and space solutions company, confirmed it successfully deployed into orbit all 7 customer satellites onboard its LauncherOne rocket during today’s Above the Clouds mission.

Virgin Orbit’s 747 carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl took off from Mojave Air and Space Port this afternoon at approximately 1: 39 PM PST/09: 39 PM UTC and flew to a launch site over the Pacific Ocean, about 50 miles south of the Channel Islands. After a smooth release from the aircraft, the LauncherOne rocket ignited and propelled itself towards space, ultimately deploying its payload into a precise target orbit approximately 500km above the Earth’s surface at 45 degrees inclination. This orbit has never been reached from the West Coast.

This launch was the third success of the company, less than a year after its first mission. Virgin Orbit has successfully delivered national security, commercial, and government satellites to space, including new Above The Clouds customer Spire Global, Inc. (NYSE : SPIR) and its first repeat customers, the U.S. Department of Defense Space Test Program, and the Polish company SatRevolution. Virgin Orbit’s subsidiary VOX Space was awarded this launch as part of the DoD Space Test Program (STP) Rapid Agile Launch Initiative (RALI).

This company’s most recent mission included experiments in space-based communication, space debris detection and in-space navigation. It also launched satellites that will be used to serve the global agricultural sector. The launch brings the total number of satellites launched by Virgin Orbit to 26.

The Above the clouds mission was launched from an orbit that is not normally accessible from the West Coast of the Americas. This was possible because of the air-launch system Virgin Orbit developed. Rather than launching from a fixed pad on the ground, Virgin Orbit conducts its launches from under the wing of a modified 747 aircraft, and by flying the aircraft further out over the ocean, the company was able to launch on a trajectory no ground-launch rocket could have achieved. The direct injection of fuel into the target orbit saved satellites many months of effort and saved them a lot of fuel.

“Our customers have begun to receive messages from their satellites, which are checking in from orbit. That’s how success looks for us.” This mission was a thrilling experience for our team. It included our first repeat customers, as well as our first “last-minute ticket” customers. We also reached an orbit that no one has ever reached from the West Coast. All of this confirms our ability to provide top-tier launch service anywhere and anytime. Dan Hart, Virgin Orbit CEO, said that it’s a thrill. “On top, we flew through weather conditions and a cloud layer that would have grounded every other launch I’ve ever worked on. This was possible only because of air-launch and our amazing team. We are confident that we can help our customers use space technology to advance humanity’s knowledge and open space for the good in this new era.

“This achievement today really shows that space launch capabilities have the future,” stated Mark Baird (VOX Space President), a former U.S. Air Force Brigadier-General. “We can launch anywhere, anytime, and unwarned. This allows us to tailor the launches to a government’s goals and mission, allowing us be better mission partners to their space operations.”

It was an incredible experience to see the Virgin Orbit team accomplish another flawless mission to space. They are doing amazing work. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Orbit, said that he is beaming with them. “We supported important, experimental work for our three happy customers today. I congratulate them and our wonderful team.”

Above the Clouds is named after the fifth track on Gang Starr’s 1998 album Moment of Truth, featuring Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan. This record was released in collaboration by Virgin Records and Noo Trybe Records. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential hip-hop albums ever.


Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) operates one of the most flexible and responsive space launch systems ever built. Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2017, the company began commercial service in 2021, and has already delivered commercial, civil, national security, and international satellites into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747- 400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs. Learn more at and visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @virginorbit, and on Instagram @virgin.orbit.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words: “believe,”” “expect,”,”anticipate,”,”estimate,”,”intend,”,”strategy,”,”future,”,”opportunity,”,”cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements include projections, predictions and other statements regarding future events. They are based upon current expectations and assumptions, and are therefore subject to uncertainties. There are many factors that could cause future events to differ materially in reality from those projected or stated in this press release. Forward-looking statements are only accurate as of the date made. Forward-looking statements should not be relied upon by readers. Virgin Orbit does not assume any obligation to revise or update forward-looking statements as a result new information, future events or other factors. Virgin Orbit cannot guarantee that it will meet its expectations.

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