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漂流瓶终于彻底拜拜 微信7.0.4新版体验
微信漂流瓶被玩坏了 聊聊漂流瓶里那些事
微信关闭漂流瓶 它曾经满足了我们对世界的好奇
微信暂停漂流瓶功能:对色情内容零容忍
[视频]惠普Chromebook x360 14 G1评测:搭载Chrome OS的商务变形本
特斯拉:北京客户可三年免息融资购车并免费租赁车牌
借贷宝:停止催收百名裸条女大学生 未满23岁将不得借贷
京东白条多地频现盗刷 消费者遭催收公司“逼债”
借款野蛮催收行为将被规范 真是几家欢喜几家愁
为规范网贷催收 上海互金协会发行业倡议书
腾讯解释为什么微信没有夜间模式 真相你相信吗?
一张发行8年的微信唱片:只收录了4首歌曲


Virgin Orbit targets 2018 for first flight of its airborne rocket launch pad
处女轨道为其机载火箭发射台首次飞行目标2018

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编辑: 1   作者: Techcrunch   时间: 2018/11/13 3:06:32  

Virgin Orbit, one of the Virgin family of space-focused companies that includes Virgin Galactic, is looking to flight its modified 747-400 aircraft for the first time in 2018 (via SpaceNews). Virgin Orbit has reconfigured the aircraft, dubbed 'Cosmic Girl,' with a mount point for its LauncherOne expendable two-stage rocket, letting that spacefaring craft launch mid-flight from the airborne jumbo jet.

The plan for Cosmic Girl is ultimately to have it fly to an altitude of 35,000 feet, where LauncherOne will release and then make the rest of the trip to orbit, which begins at around 525,000 feet above the Earth's surface.

Virgin Orbit wants to make this a viable option for launching orbital cargo because it's very flexible, can work around weather systems and offers advantages in terms of cost to launch for payloads of up to 661 lbs, which covers a range of different types of satellites. The small satellite market is growing quickly, and Virgin Orbit wants to be able to offer a launch option that's both accommodating and affordable (starting at an estimated $12 million, vs. around $60 million for a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch)for the growing number of smallsat operators and startups.

Originally, Virgin Galactic planned to use LauncherOne with its WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, which shuttles SpaceShipTwo to high altitude, but in 2015 it changed tack and picked up the 747 for modification. Virgin Orbit also subsequently spun out from Virgin Galactic earlier this year as its own company focused entirely on smallsat launch services.

Virgin Orbit plans to start its test flight of Cosmic Girl starting in the first half of 2018, the company says, and will run its inaugural test from California's Mojave Air and Space Port.