Virgin Orbit successfully launches satellites during first night mission
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Virgin Orbit successfully launches satellites during first night mission

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Image: Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit launched a rocket carrying seven satellites from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port early Saturday morning at 1:49 AM ET (10:49PM local), marking the small satellite launcher’s first successful night mission. The company brought the satellites into low Earth orbit with the help of its Boeing 747 carrier aircraft called Cosmic Girl, which had the LauncherOne rocket attached beneath one of its wings.

The mission, called Straight Up after a 1988 Paula Abdul song, involved seven research satellites as part of NASA’s Space Test Program. Like its previous missions, Virgin Orbit propelled the satellites into space by having Cosmic Girl carry the LauncherOne rocket 35,000 feet above the ground, giving it a headstart before the…

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