Virgin Orbit Plans First UK Launch for Late August

LauncherOne ignites on its way to space. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

LONG BEACH, Calif. — With three successful launches under its belt, Virgin Orbit is planning two flights this summer to demonstrate its agile air-launched booster system, including the first-ever satellite launch from the United Kingdom, a company executive said this week.

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Virgin Orbit Invests in Hypersat

PARIS, 15 DECEMBER 2021 (Virgin Orbit PR) – Virgin Orbit, the responsive launch and space solutions company that has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (“NextGen”) (NASDAQ: NGCA), announced today an agreement to acquire a 17.5% stake in geospatial analytics company Hypersat LLC (“Hypersat”).

This investment will further expand Virgin Orbit’s space solutions business by providing highly accurate electro-optic and hyperspectral imagery capabilities, which can provide vital information to customers in the agriculture, defense, energy, insurance, and minerals industries, among others. The investment by Virgin Orbit is part of the company’s strategy to leverage the relationships with its satellite launch customers and space solutions end users. As part of that strategy, Virgin Orbit has previously announced investments in ArQit Quantum, SatRevolution, and Sky and Space Global.

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Apollo Fusion Propulsion Systems Selected by Saturn Satellite Networks

A complete ACE Max thruster unit being tested. (Credit: Apollo Fusion)

Mountain View, Calif. (Apollo Fusion PR) – December 16, 2020 – Saturn Satellite Networks Inc. has selected Apollo Fusion propulsion systems for Saturn’s NationSat geostationary communications satellites. The Apollo 1.4 kW ACE Max propulsion system will be used for orbit transfer to geosynchronous orbit and on-orbit station keeping on 15 year missions.

Saturn selected Apollo Fusion because Apollo’s unique Electric Propulsion system supports the Saturn objectives to enable its NationSat small GEO sats to perform functions of much larger satellites, hence substantially reducing the barrier to spacecraft development and manufacturing.

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Virgin Orbit Names Jim Simpson As Chief Strategy Officer

Jim Simpson

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit, the California-based responsive space launch company, announced today that Jim Simpson has joined its executive team as the company’s Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). With the company rapidly approaching its second launch demonstration and nearing the start of commercial service, Jim’s addition will help the team keep a laser focus on meeting its commercial and government customers’ needs in the dynamic, global market for responsive launch. 

Jim’s celebrated career in space gives him experience in both the launch and the satellite industries, working with governments, start-ups, and everything in between. He recently wrapped up his tenure as the CEO of Saturn Satellite Networks, where he led the evolution of the geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) field by changing the economics for both emerging developing nations and established organizations in the sector. He has also served as CEO of ABS (formerly Asia Broadcast Satellite), and served as the head of strategy for Aerojet Rocketdyne and Boeing Network and Space Systems. 

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