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Our 2020 Service Guide: A Smoother Path to Orbit

If you’re a small satellite maker or operator looking for a ride to space, we’ve got some good news for you: flying on LauncherOne just got a whole lot easier and gentler! Our experiences over the last few years — including our first Launch Demo back in May — have given us a better understanding of both our LauncherOne system and what our customers need to know about it before they fly. We’ve wrapped those lessons learned into a totally refreshed Service Guide for 2020.

Those familiar with aerospace know that technical documents can be cryptic and uninviting . With overly complex terminology, unclear language, and page lengths that would make even the Encyclopedia Britannica envious, the way that we discuss technical details has a lot of room for improvement.

At Virgin Orbit, we’re doing our very best to communicate to our customers in a manner that is as simple and straightforward as possible. For some customers, figuring out how prepare their satellites to ride on a specific rocket can be as complicated as building the spacecraft itself. Our goal is reduce the stress and confusion that comes with planning a satellite mission — not only for folks who are new to the game and have never launched something before, but for experienced satellite makers and operators looking for a smoother path to orbit.

Check out the new Service Guide here!

Major Changes

As anyone who’s flown on a passenger jet knows, all aircraft that streak through the sky experience some degree of turbulence. One critical question for our customers is exactly how much our rocket jiggles and shakes on its way to the drop point and up to space. Thanks to the mountain of data we collected during our Launch Demo, we now have greater confidence in our random vibration predictions. To be more specific, we’ve reduced our random vibration by 6 dB for satellites greater than 60 kg! That will allow our customers to test their spacecraft to lower levels before it’s handed over forpayload integration.

Even better, we’ve also added random vibration information for CubeSats (22.7 kg or less) — useful information for our customers as they plan out their missions.

One of the subtler changes is better-defined electrical interface requirements. Many of our customers want to have electrical access to their satellite well after the encapsulation process so they can check the health of their payload, trickle charge, or perform any other mission unique activities. Now that we’ve more clearly defined those electrical configurations for access on both the payload trailer and Cosmic Girl, getting access to your payload is easier than ever.  

Overall, we’ve more adequately outlined the whole launch service process for all of our customers, from the moment they sign the Launch Service Agreement all the way through to launch. We’ve added new milestones for Virgin Orbit and customer deliverables, providing more guidance for the planning process, as well as more information about the qualification and acceptance testing needed to fly on LauncherOne.

With these tools in hand, our customers are much better equipped for success in the lead-up to launch. And for those questions that can’t be answered on paper, our Mission Managers are always available to lend a helping hand.

Plan a mission with LauncherOne today at launch@virginorbit.com!