Building a satellite, that’s not really much of a problem anymore. Getting them launched, well, that’s what separates the big boys from the wannabes. Virgin’s Richard Branson believes he has the answer to that — LauncherOne. The delivery system for Earth orbiters is based around the WhiteKnightTwo, the same launch platform used by SpaceShipTwo to reach its sub-orbital heights. The tube-like rocket of the LauncherOne is carried up to 50,000 feet by its mother ship, before detaching and initiating its two-stage rocket engines. The current design is capable of delivering 500-pound payloads into Low Earth Orbit, while lighter satellites of 225 pounds could reach Sun-Synchronous Low Earth Orbit. Virgin Galactic says it has already signed up its first customers, including SkyBox Imaging and GeoOptics. Sadly, there’s no word on when or how much it’ll cost to get the spy satellite you built in your backyard placed in the heavens. Check out the video and the PR after the break.
Filed under: Transportation