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Virgin Orbit successfully launches 7 satellites into orbit

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Posted at 10:22 AM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 13:22:06-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Virgin Orbit rocket released from a jet flying off the California coast has carried seven small satellites into space.

The launch Thursday kicks off a year in which the company plans a total of six missions, including two originating from Britain.

Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747 took off from Mojave Air & Space Port in the Southern California desert, flew out over the Pacific Ocean and dropped the LauncherOne rocket from under its left wing. The 70-foot-long booster ignited and hurtled toward space.

It was Virgin Orbit's third launch carrying satellites for customers. The company had two successful missions last year, following a 2020 test flight that failed.