Virgin Orbit, Sir Richard Branson’s small satellite launch company, has successfully completed a key drop test of its LauncherOne vehicle, the last major step in the development program of the company’s novel launch service. Virgin Orbit has completed a steady progression of test flights with its “flying launch pad” Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne vehicle. On this flight, Virgin Orbit released a LauncherOne rocket from Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747 that serves as the rocket’s carrier aircraft.  The primary purpose of the test was to monitor the few critical seconds just after release, to ensure the rocket and aircraft separate

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