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Technology Virgin Galactic's spaceship flies from its new home base for the first time

23:05  01 may  2020
23:05  01 may  2020 Source:   engadget.com

Virgin Orbit is ready to test its plane-launched space rockets

  Virgin Orbit is ready to test its plane-launched space rockets Virgin Orbit is ready for its first launch after successfully completing an end-to-end test proving that its carrier aircraft, Cosmic Girl, can ferry rockets to the skies for takeoff. The Virgin Group company, which aims to provide launch services for small satellites, sent Cosmic Girl over California with a LauncherOne rocket strapped under its wing. Virgin Orbit loaded the rocket’s tanks with water in previous tests, but this time, it filled those tanks with liquid nitrogen. Virgin Orbit The water in previous tests was over 300 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the liquid oxygen those tanks would carry for actual launches.

The pieces are finally starting to come together for Virgin Galactic’s space tourism — the company has flown SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America for the first time. It was just a glide test from 50,000 feet up, but the flight let the spaceport fulfill its intended purpose and gave pilots familiarity with the New Mexico airspace. This will also help Virgin compare performance against similar maneuvers from earlier tests.

a plane sitting on top of a sandy beach: Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo glides toward Spaceport America Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo glides toward Spaceport America

And before you ask: yes, Virgin took steps to keep crews safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. It reworked operational elements to keep people apart, and required “universal” mask usage.

There are still more test flights in the pipeline. Even so, this nudges Virgin considerably closer to its goal of taking paying passengers into space. The company is certainly under pressure to get things up and running quickly. Its financial situation has been rough for a while, and it won’t turn around until customers get what they’re paying for.

Manu Payet replaces Camille Combal at the head of the morning radio show at Virgin Radio .
© LP / Frédéric Dugit Twenty years after his debut on the national air, the humorist Manu Payet is back on the air. Comedian, actor, screenwriter, director, French voice of "Po" in the animated saga "Kung Fu Panda" ... Manu Payet is all that at the same time. But his first job, the one that made him leave Reunion for Paris at 25, is a radio host.

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