Commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic will be launching satellites to outer space via a Boeing 747 called Cosmic Girl. The company has already signed contracts with NASA to launch experimental satellites in the near future.
Virgin Galactic, a project by a United Kingdom businessman Richard Branson, has announced an ambitious plan to launch new satellites to outer space using a Boeing 747. Already, the company has signed a $4.7M contract with NASA with regard to launching a minimum of a dozen satellites in the near future for its test flight.
George Thomas Whitesides, chief executive officer of Virgin Galactic, explains that the air launch will enable the company to provide fast and reactive services to its satellite customers on set schedules by its operational and business needs in comparison to national launch range constraints. By using a Boeing 747 airframe, it gives the company the capacity to increase payload to orbit without increasing launching costs.
Virgin Galactic also manages to forge a deal with global broadband internet provider OneWeb. The contract is to launch 39 satellites for the broadband company's global internet satellite system and 100 more for future launches.
Branson adds that Boeing 747 has a special place in his heart. During the company's early days, it began its services with one leased 747 airliner known as Virgin Atlantic. It never crossed his mind that one of Virgin's 747 would get another chance to aid open access to outer space.
Virgin Atlantic's first Boeing 747 aircraft is named as Cosmic Girl. With the company's contract for space missions, Branson is thrilled that the aircraft can stay in the company's yard and will live up to its name. He never thought about satellites when he originally launched Virgin Galactic. He just thought of his personal desire to travel to space and about human space travel trying to make them all to reality. With the company embarking on space missions, he realizes that other than his selfish dreams, a whole new aspect appears, and they are really excited about this. By using commercial airplanes, companies can be more efficient and flexible as commercial flights are less restrictive in comparison to rocket launches.