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LauncherOne

LauncherOne with B747-400 [Virgin Galactic]

LauncherOne [Virgin Galactic]

Virgin Galactic announced in July 2012 the design of its new LauncherOne air-launched space launch system.

LauncherOne is an expendable, two stage rocket with liquid RP-1 kerosene and liquid oxygen as propellants . The first stage is powered by the Newton-3 engine. The second stage, featuring the Newton-1 engine, 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 carrier aircraft, LauncherOne will be released from the airplane 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.

Originally it was to use the same WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) mother ship as the manned suborbital SpaceShipTwo. Sometimes in 2014, the concept was scaled up for increased performance, using the larger NewtonThree and NewtonFour engines and a Boeing 747-400 carrier plane replacing the smaller WhiteKnightTwo.

A maiden launch is planned for 2016. Initially, LauncherOne missions will be staged from Spaceport America, a new commercial spaceport in New Mexico.

Version Aircraft Stage 1 Stage 2
LauncherOne Boeing 747-400 ? Stage 1 / NewtonThree Stage 2 / NewtonFour
Performance (kg) LEO LPEO SSO GTO GEO MolO IP
LauncherOne 400 200 - - - -
No.TypNo Type           Fl.No  Date          LS      Aircraft       Payload 

none


planned launches:

 1    1  LauncherOne           xx.xx.2016    SA      WK2            ?
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            OneWeb x
 x    x  LauncherOne           xx.xx.201x    SA      WK2            (15-30 NASA ELaNa-20 CubeSats)
 

Launch sites:

SA  = Spaceport America (SouthWest Regional Spaceport), Upham, New Mexico, USA USA