http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.88Change: 0.04
R/$ = 12.69Change: 0.00
Au 1083.77 $/ozChange: -7.68
Pt 951.50 $/ozChange: -14.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 27, 2012

Cut-price small satellite launch system unveiled by Virgin Galactic

Back
Abu Dhabi|Aircraft|Components|Sierra Nevada Space Systems|Surrey Satellite Technologies|System|Systems|The Spaceship Company|Virgin Galactic|United Kingdom|United States|USD|Carrier Aircraft|Product|Satellite Designs|Satellite Launch Rocket|Satellite Launch Services|Satellite Manufacturers|Services|Systems|Burt Rutan|George Whitesides|Infrastructure|Richard Branson|SpaceShipTwo|WhiteKnightTwo (WK2)|WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) Carrier Aircraft
|Aircraft|Components|System|Systems||||Services|Systems|Infrastructure||
abu-dhabi|aircraft|components|sierra-nevada-space-systems|surrey-satellite-technologies|system|systems-company|the-spaceship-company|virgin-galactic|united-kingdom|united-states|usd|carrier-aircraft|product|satellite-designs|satellite-launch-rocket|satellite-launch-services|satellite-manufacturers|services|systems|burt-rutan|george-whitesides|infrastructure|richard-branson|spaceshiptwo|whiteknighttwo-wk2|whiteknighttwo-wk2-carrier-aircraft
© Reuse this



Suborbital space tourism company Virgin Galactic announced at the recent Farnborough International Air Show, in the UK, that work had started on the development of a small satellite launch rocket, designated LauncherOne, that will be dropped from the company’s WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft. It will provide commercial small satellite launch services.

WK2 was originally developed to carry the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) suborbital passenger spacecraft. WK2 will carry SS2 to altitudes around 16 000 m and release the spacecraft, which will then ignite its rocket motor and soar into space for a suborbital flight, after which it will re-enter the atmosphere and glide back to base. The same approach will be used with LauncherOne, except that, of course, the end result will be the orbital flight of a small satellite. The new rocket will be able to launch satellites with a mass of up to 225 kg, and is forecast to be able to do so at prices below $10-million. LauncherOne will be a two-stage rocket.

Because LauncherOne will be dropped from an aircraft, launch infrastructure costs will be much reduced and it will be possible to do launches from many locations, giving great flexibility to customers. Simultaneously, two of the world’s leading small satellite manufacturers, Surrey Satellite Technologies, of the UK, and Sierra Nevada Space Systems, of the US, announced that they would develop satellite designs that would be compatible with the LauncherOne specifications.

Virgin Galactic has a partner in the LauncherOne programme, Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJS. Virgin Galactic is itself a US subsidiary of renowned British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group. The LauncherOne concept was first floated by Virgin in 2009 and the first commercial flights could take place in 2016. A number of companies have already signed up to use the system.

“Virgin Galactic’s goal is to revolutionise the way we get to space. “I’m immensely proud of what we have already achieved as we draw near to regular suborbital flights on SpaceShipTwo,” affirmed Branson. “Now, LauncherOne is bringing the price of satellite launch into the realm of affordability for innovators everywhere, from start-ups and schools to established companies and national space agencies. “It will be a critical new tool for the global research community, enabling us all to learn about our home planet more quickly and affordably.

“Small satellite launch is an area ripe for disruption. “Miniaturised satellite components and constrained budgets are driving commercial clients, academic users and government agencies all to clamour for an affordable, dedicated launch vehicle,” highlighted Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. “Now, thanks to Aabar’s investment, our existing capabilities and the expert team we’ve already assembled, we’re prepared to fill that void by bringing LauncherOne to market.”

Like WK2 and SS2, LauncherOne is a product of The Spaceship Company, which is a joint venture between the Virgin group and Scaled Composites (the company which designed and originally developed the WK2 and SS2). Scaled Composites was founded by equally renowned US aerospace engineer and designer Burt Rutan.

Meanwhile, SS2 is expected to make its first powered flight before the end of this year, and 529 people have booked seats for flights into space on the craft – this number is greater than the total number of people who have ever been in space.

It should be noted that LauncherOne is not the world’s first air-dropped satellite launch vehicle. US company Orbital has, since 1990, orbited more than 80 small satellites in 41 launches of its Pegasus air-dropped three-stage rocket. The company uses a modified Lockheed Martin L-1011 Tristar widebody airliner as its carrier aircraft.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Science and Technology News
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has announced that it had awarded the country’s first remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) pilot’s licence. It was issued on Friday, July 10, to SACAA employee and qualified commercial pilot Nicole Swart,...
PARKS TAU Digital access is becoming as much an equity issue in society as access to water and electricity
As part of its commitment to a smart city, the City of Johannesburg is digitally empowering citizens to ensure that they are fluent in the uses and possibilities of the digital space.
UK SPONSORSHIP The project is a rich vein of scientific collaboration
The global launch of the British sponsorship of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) took place in Centurion earlier this month ahead of the cars arrival in South Africa, in 2016, for its attempt to break the world land speed record with a design speed of 1 690 km/h.
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
The Department of Labour (DoL) will on Tuesday start hosting a series of national public hearings to review the farming and forestry sectors’ minimum wages and conditions of employment as prescribed in Sectoral Determination (SD) 13. The department explained in a...
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on Monday announced that it was “eager” to “reinitiate” the licensing process for the assignment of the high-demand spectrum. Icasa, which was responsible for the allocation of spectrum to broadcasting...
Lien Visage, a community development worker at Donkerbos, near Rietfontein, has won the Witzenberg regional of the 2015 Farmworker of the Year competition, an initiative celebrating excellence in the Western Cape’s agricultural sector. “South Africa has earned a...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Daimler truck test engineer Dirk Stranz pushes one button, and then retracts his hands from the steering wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. “And now the truck is driving itself.”
The statutory body responsible for skills development and support in the banking sector, BANKSETA, was investing R68-million in the capacity building project of the University of Venda (UniVen), announced Bankseta company secretary Caroline King at a media event in...
LIONEL MOYAL Cloud services providers must compete against other cloud services providers for business by providing up-to-date systems and services
Legacy information technology (IT) systems are becoming increasingly obsolete because of the maturity, efficiencies and cost effectiveness of cloud-based IT services, says information and communication technology major T-Systems subsidiary Intervate head Lionel...
ARMANDÉ KRUGER Balancing the collection and processing of data must be aligned to strategy
Many complementary services enable companies to derive broad value from data inside and outside them. The complexity of data management means that companies’ strategies determine the various data systems and functions they will use, says PBT Group regional sales...
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has announced that it had awarded the country’s first remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) pilot’s licence. It was issued on Friday, July 10, to SACAA employee and qualified commercial pilot Nicole Swart,...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96