The business plan for the commercial space company Virgin Orbit billionaire Richard Branson (Richard Branson) suggests that the satellite launches will be carried out in different parts of the world. To launch a satellite using a modified carrier aircraft, only an airfield and a small infrastructure for servicing the rocket are needed. It is full of airfields, and the infrastructure, as it turns out, can be brought with you.
The other day, representatives of Virgin Orbit, the UK space agency and the future “spaceport” Spaceport Cornwall in Cornwall held an online conference, which was dedicated to discussing plans for space expansion. The British authorities are interested in their own space capacities, although so far they have little to do. For example, back in March, a law was to be issued governing airspace launches, which directly relates to the activities of Virgin Orbit. However, the law never came out. A pandemic and brexitis are all that concern the government of the country now.
In the United States, where Virgin Orbit is testing its aerospace launch systems, the airfield is equipped with mobile but bulky trailer platforms for refueling and testing LauncherOne rockets (pictured above). You can’t take this whole farm with you, and it will be unprofitable to create such solutions on the ground for future launches for using a couple of three times a year. Therefore, Virgin Orbit decided to order a mobile set of equipment for transportation by transport Boeing 747.
The mobile launch support infrastructure or TGOS (transportable ground operations system) will include a set of fuel tanks, generators and other equipment needed to prepare missiles for launch, as well as two LauncherOne missiles. The TGOS complex will be manufactured by a British company, which is due to finish work by September of this year.
By the way, the date of the first launch of LauncherOne in the UK is still uncertain. It is assumed that this will be either the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. In the meantime, the first test launch of a rocket from an airplane was unsuccessful. The main engine of the rocket at the ninth second after separation from the carrier aircraft suddenly turned off, and the rocket fell into the ocean. The causes of the malfunction are still being investigated.
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