The Department of Defense Space Test Program prototypes its first small launch demonstration from VOX Space, a subsidiary of Virgin Orbit
Long Beach, California – 16 November 2017 – The U.S. Department of Defense announced today that it has a prototype flight with Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne as a demonstration of the new, extremely flexible and responsive launch service. The DoD Space Test Program (STP) is now on the manifest for a primary launch expected to occur as early as January 2019.

The STP, executed by the Space and Missile System Center’s Advanced Systems Development Directorate, awarded the launch via an ‘Other Transaction’ agreement by partnering with Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx). VOX Space LLC, a new, independent subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, was created to provide dedicated service to the government national security market.

LauncherOne is a new launch service being developed by Virgin Orbit and consists of a two-stage expendable rocket and a fully-reusable air-launch platform. Virgin Orbit recently completed assembly of a complete pathfinder rocket at its 180,000 square foot factory in Long Beach, CA, and the system’s 747-400 flying launch pad has begun its flight test campaign. The system is designed to provide highly responsive, reliable, and affordable flights to Low Earth Orbit to small satellites. The initial flight of the LauncherOne system is targeted for the first half of 2018.

This prototype launch will be used to fly technology demonstration satellites. Equally importantly, this launch will demonstrate the ability to leverage the rapid call-up and ultra-high flexibility that characterize the LauncherOne service. This launch allows the DoD to assess LauncherOne as a means to deliver Space Experiment Review Board payloads to orbit.

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said, “The ability to rapidly replenish space capabilities will contribute to maintaining outer space as a peaceful resource available for the benefit of planet Earth. I am excited that, with the creation of VOX Space, the incredible responsiveness and affordability of LauncherOne is now available to the national security market. Under Mandy’s excellent leadership, VOX Space brings a critical service to a very important segment of the market.”

“We are honored and excited to provide the capabilities of Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne to STP, and the Department of Defense, facilitated by DIUx,” said Mandy Vaughn, President of VOX Space, which serves as the gateway for Virgin Orbit’s national security space activities. “LauncherOne’s high-rate manufacturing capability and air-launched operations have already brought some very attractive service benefits to the commercial community, and with this contract our servicemen and women can now begin to experience those same benefits. We are looking forward to demonstrating a new and better way to do space launch and appreciate the innovation and creativity being demonstrated by the Department of Defense.”

William Pomerantz,

Virgin Orbit provides dedicated, responsive, and affordable launch services for small satellites. Virgin Orbit is developing LauncherOne, a flexible launch service for commercial and government-built satellites. LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and will be air-launched from a dedicated 747-400 carrier aircraft capable of operating from many locations in order to best serve each customer’s needs. Virgin Orbit’s systems are currently in an advanced stage of testing, with initial orbital launches expected soon. To learn more or to apply to join Virgin Orbit’s talented and growing team, visit

VOX Space, LLC is a US-incorporated, wholly-owned subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, LLC. VOX Space provides the national security community of the USA and allied nations with responsive, dedicated, and affordable launch services for small satellites bound for Low Earth Orbit. Led by President Mandy Vaughn and headquartered in Manhattan Beach, California, VOX Space can provide study, analysis, integration, and launch services using Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, while ensuring our customers’ critical information is protected. To learn more or to apply to join VOX Space’s talented and growing team, visit