With operations for our #LaunchDemo2 mission already in full swing, it's an exciting morning here at Mojave Air and Space Port!

LOX loading on the rocket has begun, and we're looking good to hit our target takeoff time of approximately 10:30 AM Pacific.
As we move through our major milestones today, we'll keep you in the loop right here on Twitter. But first, a quick recap for anyone who's unfamiliar...
We are Virgin Orbit, the team opening space for good. We're driven by an ambition to smash down the barriers preventing affordable, responsive access to space.

And if you've seen our LauncherOne system, you'll know that we're doing launch a little differently from everyone else.
Our rocket is designed to be the most flexible, most agile, and most mobile launch system in the world.
Thanks to our carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl, we can bring launch capabilities to places all over the world — even those that historically have never had the opportunity to take advantage of all the wonders and utility of space.
Right now, we're mainly focused on uplifting small satellite makers & operators, who even today lack the same opportunities available to their larger peers.

The democratization of space is well underway, and we're proud to help fuel the expansion of inclusivity.
Our 1st Launch Demo allowed us to prove out our core air launch concept. Today we're aiming to build on that progress, further enhancing our knowledge & demonstrating LauncherOne's full capabilities.

It's important to note that as the mission name implies, this is still a test.
We're striving to achieve a number of firsts today, but in this business, firsts don't always work out exactly the way you'd like.

So we've done an immense amount of work to maximize our chances for success, and eagerly await to see what lessons the data can teach us.
One of those "firsts" for today's mission is carrying customer satellites onboard LauncherOne, each sponsored by the undisputed heavyweight champion of the space world: @NASA!

You can check out the full manifest in our recent blog. virg.in/RnY
.@NASA contracted Virgin Orbit for this launch via the Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) program, which serves as a valuable joint learning experience as the launch industry quickly hurtles into the future.
We’re so grateful to the folks at @NASA_LSP and to all of our payload teams for joining us on this adventurous experiment.
We’ll be overjoyed if we can successfully get these spacecraft into orbit, but if we fall short, we’ll all be glad to have even had the chance to try.
Alright, quick update on the action in Mojave: LOX loading is complete, and mission control has confirmed all systems continue to look healthy.
Getting ready to disconnect our transportable ground support equipment (TGOS) and preparing for the flight crew to board.

Like our previous flight, Chief Test Pilot Kelly Latimer will be the pilot-in-charge (PIC) on Cosmic Girl for this mission.
Next to her in the cockpit will be Todd Ericson, who also helmed the aircraft during our first Launch Demo.
New Chief Pilot Eric Bippert, the latest ace addition to our flight crew, will be onboard as well as he prepares to step into the role of PIC on upcoming LauncherOne missions.
On Cosmic Girl's upper deck, launch engineers Bryce Schaefer and Sarah Barnes will monitor the health of both rocket and aircraft as we fly out to the drop point, with our third LE Jason Panzarino on console down in mission control on the ground.
LauncherOne has been fully disconnected and our flight crew has settled into their seats onboard the aircraft. Let's wish them a smooth, safe flight out to our drop point today! Now targeting takeoff at approximately 10:50 AM Pacific (about 30 minutes from now).
Cosmic Girl has been towed out to the runway. Not too long now 'til takeoff.

Fun fact: This is Cosmic Girl's 8,338th flight since the aircraft was procured by @VirginAtlantic back in 2001.
A beautiful takeoff! Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne are officially airborne for our second orbital launch demonstration. #LaunchDemo2
Here's what today's takeoff looked like from Mojave Air and Space Port.
Wanted to dwell for a moment on the fact that we've just handed off control of the entire launch system to the four teammates on Cosmic Girl right now.

They're literally the only people in the world trained and qualified to do this exact job - a unique experience for sure!
Our flight profile for this mission is identical to our first Launch Demo. Cosmic Girl is headed due southwest from Mojave to our drop point just south of the Channel Islands. Once there, we'll enter into a loop that we call the "racetrack" as we wait for final go/no-gos.
Ground stations scattered across the globe — in Antarctica, Baja, Mauritius, and Mojave — are primed and ready to track LauncherOne as it flies. We also have an additional antenna for telemetry on the roof of our Long Beach HQ.
Cosmic Girl has entered the racetrack!
Our flight crew is now going through final checks before initiating the terminal count autosequence. Emphasis on the "auto" here, as once that's triggered LauncherOne's computers will begin to take full control of the system before release and ignition.
Terminal count autosequence has been initiated. We are less than 15 minutes away from releasing LauncherOne from Cosmic Girl.
Confirming a clean release from the aircraft and a perfectly executed ignition of our main stage engine, NewtonThree.
Getting sporty now as LauncherOne approaches Max Q! Every rocket nerd knows to respect Max Q: it's the point at which a rocket experiences the maximum amount of aerodynamic force.
NewtonThree has burned to full duration. Confirming main engine cutoff (MECO).
Still got a ways to go, but we just confirmed successful stage separation! This is a HUGE milestone, and the furthest our rocket has flown yet. C'mon LauncherOne!
Hearing that we've now crossed 50 miles for the first time and are still on track. Just... wow! WELCOME TO SPACE, LAUNCHERONE!
Our NewtonFour upper stage just ignited for this first time in the vaccuum of space. Amazing, awesome, incredible.
Fairing halves have separated. Our customers' satellites are now directly exposed to space ahead of their deployment.
NewtonFour still burning bright!
Stage two burn nominal. Two minutes to SECO-1.
According to telemetry, LauncherOne has reached orbit! Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers. Even the folks on comms are trying really hard not to sound too excited.
The upper stage has shut down as planned and will coast for about 30 minutes. Then, NewtonFour will relight to circularize the orbit before we deploy our payload.

In both a literal and figurative sense, this is miles beyond how far we reached in our first Launch Demo.
Just heard from our dish at O'Higgins in Antarctica. The upper stage is still on track and systems are looking nominal.
Confirming that Cosmic Girl and our flight crew have safely landed back at Mojave.
Still monitoring the upper stage the see whether the payloads have successfully deployed. We’ll have an update soon.
So we can confirm our NewtonFour upper stage engine successfully relit at the right time and for the right duration. The payload separation command was issued as planned. The team is going through the data now to confirm everything - but it’s very encouraging. Another update soon
Payloads successfully deployed into our target orbit! We are so, so proud to say that LauncherOne has now completed its first mission to space, carrying 9 CubeSat missions into Low Earth Orbit for our friends @NASA. #LaunchDemo2

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More from @Virgin_Orbit

13 Dec 20
Our vehicles, hardware, and software are all ready to go. With two rehearsals already complete, one final wet dress rehearsal is all that remains for us to do. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is impacting our ability to safely operate, and thus our schedule.
Our team has really proven to be outstanding. In the past week, we’ve completed full mission duration hotfire campaigns on both our upper & main stage engines, qualified our flight software and mission planning for this flight, verified the health of all rocket systems, and more.
Through extensive use of remote work and PPE, the redesign of our launch operations, and well-trained and dedicated staff, we've done everything in our power to keep our team safe at work — and thus far, we've prevented any cases of teammate-to-teammate transmission.
Read 9 tweets
25 May 20
Good morning, world! Today is a momentous occasion for the Virgin Orbit team: operations for the first orbital launch demonstration of our LauncherOne rocket are well underway. 🚀
After a promising pre-flight briefing this morning, weather remains favorable for our target launch window today.

As a reminder, we will not be livestreaming this flight — but stick around and refresh this feed for updates as the action happens.
Between the COVID-19 crisis and Memorial Day, it’s a bit of an odd time to be launching a rocket — but we’re thrilled to be approaching our first official launch window after years of working methodically through the LauncherOne program. We’re feeling more ready than ever.
Read 36 tweets
12 Apr 20
Good morning from Mojave, where our team is preparing for an end-to-end, capstone launch rehearsal of LauncherOne — the final test of our development program.
We’ve been pushing hard to prepare for this moment — rehearsing fueling operations, testing our telemetry hand-offs, simulating full-team missions, and all the other kind of work that needs to be done before debuting a new rocket.
Check out our blog to get up to speed on all of the activities leading up to this milestone, and what we're aiming for today: virg.in/TFr
Read 12 tweets

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