FAA Grants Launch License to Virgin Orbit

LauncherOne ignites after being released from Cosmic Girl 747. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

After a 14-year gap, it looks like the Mojave Air and Space Port will actually host a space launch again.

The FAA has issued a launch license to Virgin Orbit for LauncherOne. The booster will be carried aloft from Mojave aboard a modified Boeing 747 and fired over the Pacific Ocean.

The payload for the program’s first flight test, which is scheduled to take place later this summer, is described in the license as a “mass simulator with CubeSat.”

In a series of Tweets, Virgin Orbit said that prior to the launch it would conduct a captive carry flight campaign with LauncherOne flying under the wing of the 747. The testing will culminate with a dropping of a test booster.