Space force

Watch Virgin Orbit’s ‘Straight Up’ satellite launch live

Update: The launch was delayed due to a minor propellant temperature issue, but Virgin Orbit has confirmed it will make its next attempt tonight (July 1) no earlier than 10:20 p.m. PDT.

Update 2: The launch is good and the payloads are in orbit!

We’re sorry in advance for getting Paula Abdul stuck in your head today.

Virgin Orbit is set to launch the “Straight Up” mission tonight at 10 p.m. PDT — yes, it’s named after the singer’s 1988 hit — and you can watch it live below.

The mission will carry seven experimental satellites into orbit for the United States Space Force, demonstrating both new hardware (a new satellite bus and new radio communication technology) and software (regarding satellite monitoring and the study of change climate).

They will be put into orbit via Virgin Orbit’s “horizontal” launch system: the LauncherOne rocket is launched from the belly of a modified Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl while the plane is in midair. The aircraft will take off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California before flying over the Pacific Ocean, where LauncherOne will be released to deliver its payload to a 500 kilometer orbit.

“Our hardware is in excellent condition and the team is performing exceptionally well as we prepare for our first nighttime launch,” Tyler Grinnell, vice president of Tests, Flights and Launches, Virgin Orbit, said in a statement. hurry. “The perspective we gained from each previous launch is really paying off now. Our teams in the sky and on the ground are ready to continue our mission to get our customers’ satellites precisely where they need to go.

“Straight Up” will be Virgin Orbit’s fourth commercial launch – an impressive pace considering the company’s first commercial launch was only a year ago on June 30, 2021. It also has big plans. for the remainder of 2022. The UK has tapped Virgin Orbit to execute the first-ever rocket launch on UK soil, which is currently set to take place in September. This mission, called Prometheus-2, is a joint mission between the British Ministry of Defense and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) of the United States.

The launch window for “Straight Up” opens tonight at 10:00 p.m. PDT, with the livestream beginning 30 minutes prior, at 9:30 p.m. PDT. Watch it below or tune in to the stream here.