http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.15Change: -0.05
R/$ = 11.65Change: -0.10
Au 1283.66 $/ozChange: 10.51
Pt 1240.50 $/ozChange: 12.30
 
 
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|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
|Components|System|Systems||||Services|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|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
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other News This Week News
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
More
 
 
Latest News
SAA acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has assured that loss-making national carrier South African Airlines (SAA) will not receive another bailout from government, noting that the most recent R6.4-billion government guarantee had only been provided in support of an intensive...
South Africa's cumulative trade deficit was R95.3-billion in 2014, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) said on Friday. In 2013, it was R71.4-billion, Sars said in a statement.
Certain regulatory approvals remain outstanding in Telkom’s proposed R2.67-billion takeover of JSE-listed Business Connexion (BCX), the parties said in an update to shareholders on Friday. BCX noted in the statement that the Competition Authority of Botswana had...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
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.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
ASTRAPAK The group highlighted that executive strategic interventions and other group-wide business improvement imperatives were progressing favourably
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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