Sir Richard Branson, prominent space billionaire and Virgin Group founder, on Monday, held conversations with many enlisted airmen and Air Force authorities regarding his company VG’s ambitions to ensure that space travel was commercially accessible to many more individuals.
He also spoke about the objectives set by VO, which is the sat launch division of Virgin, for increasing its impact in contributing to national security efforts. The firm has modified a used Boeing 747, making it into a handy mobile launchpad. LauncherOne, which is a small but powerful launch vehicle happens to be placed under the aircraft’s wing. It gets dropped upon reaching high altitude levels, after which it ignites the engines & proceeds to fly the sat to orbit.
Branson stated that the company was capable of taking off & launching a sat within 24 hrs or less.
VI in Nov 2017 had obtained DIU contract from Pentagon authorities, for launching experimental satellites belonging to the US Air Force. Now, this firm is trying to increase its business & bag more contracts from the US intelligence and military community. Branson has met with senior Pentagon officials and has spoken alongside Gen. Raymond, who commands the US Space Command.
Gen. Raymond and others have often championed “responsive launches” – which refer to gaining access to launch vehicles, which are capable of deploying satellites in a moment’s notice. This would be of particular help, especially during a military conflict, where US satellites may be attacked by the enemy. This capability would allow the military to launch a replacement and restore operations immediately.
Branson stated that this capacity alone would serve as a useful deterrent, ensuring that enemy state would not attack US satellites. The USA’s ability to restore and replace in 24 hrs would be incredibly useful. Named Cosmic Girl, the modified and upgraded Boeing 747, which was made into a handy launch platform, has been designed in such a way that it can get ready for launch in 4-5 hours alone.