LauncherOne with WhiteKnightTwo [Virgin Galactic]
Virgin Galactic announced in July 2012 the design of its new LauncherOne air-launched space launch system. It will use the same WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) mother ship as the manned suborbital SpaceShipTwo.
LauncherOne is an expendable, two stage rocket with liquid fuel propulsion. The second stage is reignitable for orbit insertion. Payloads will be accommodated within a fairing approximately 1 meter in diameter, with a cylindrical shape for the first 77 cm and a conical section above.
LauncherOne is being developed by The Spaceship Company (TSC) of Mojave. TSC is a partnership of Virgin Galactic and Mojave, Calif.-based Scaled Composites, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. The stages and shroud, including structures, engines, and Launch Vehicle/Pylon Interface, will be manufactured at TSCís FAITH production facility. Other components, such as avionics and secondary subsystems will be delivered to the production facility by world-class suppliers.
After lift-off with the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft, LauncherOne will be released from WhiteKnightTwo at an altitude of approximately 15 km above mean sea level. LauncherOne will free fall for approximately four seconds before the first stage ignites. The two stages operate in sequence, with the potential for the second stage to relight, and the payload is delivered to a designated low-earth orbit.
A maiden launch is planned for 2015 with the vehicle becoming operational in 2016. Initially, LauncherOne missions will be staged from Spaceport America, a new commercial spaceport in New Mexico.
|Version||Aircraft||Stage 1||Stage 2|
No.TypNo Type Fl.No Date LS Aircraft Payload
none planned launches: 1 1 LauncherOne xx.xx.2015 SA WK2 ? Launch sites: SA = Spaceport America (SouthWest Regional Spaceport), New Mexico, USA