http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.17Change: 0.00
R/$ = 10.53Change: -0.01
Au 1292.95 $/ozChange: 2.20
Pt 1472.00 $/ozChange: 2.50
 
 
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 Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements 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|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|Systems|Burt Rutan|George Whitesides|Infrastructure|Richard Branson|SpaceShipTwo|WhiteKnightTwo (WK2)|WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) Carrier Aircraft
|Components|System|Systems||||Systems|Infrastructure||
abu-dhabi|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|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
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
More
 
 
Latest News
Roberto Azevêdo
Updated 10 minutes ago World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general Roberto Azevêdo assured the organisation’s General Council on Thursday that trade will continue to be a focus in the post-2015 Development Agenda, with a primary goal being the achievement of a “significant”...
Updated 26 minutes ago Global revenues from solar energy operations could double from $59.84-billion in 2013 to $137-billion in 2020, new analysis from Frost & Sullivan shows. The consultancy’s ‘Global Solar Power Market’ report says the total global installed solar photovoltaic (PV)...
The 2005 Nuna 3
Updated 41 minutes ago The biennial Sasol Solar Challenge will kick off on September 27, in Pretoria, and end in Cape Town, on October 4. Fourteen teams will take part, of which eight are local, says race project manager Annalie van Vuuren.
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
GARYN RAPSON Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will open the door for court battles to determine who will be held liable for the remediation
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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