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    In pictures: Branson's Virgin Orbit moves closer to commercial satellite launch

    In pictures: Branson's Virgin Orbit moves closer to commercial satellite launch

    In pictures: Branson's Virgin Orbit moves closer to commercial satellite launch
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    By Reuters  IST (Published)

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    SUMMARY

    Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit on Wednesday released a rocket from the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner in mid-air in a key test of its high-altitude launch system for satellites, the company said. In the penultimate mission before Virgin Orbit offers commercial satellite launch services, the 70-foot (21.34 m) LauncherOne rocket cleanly separated from the jetliner at roughly 35,000 feet, the company said. The rocket, loaded with water and antifreeze to simulate the weight of fuel, crashed as planned into the Mojave Desert as the jetliner, nicknamed Cosmic Girl, continued on its flight path.

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    Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit on Wednesday released a rocket from the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner in mid-air in a key test of its high-altitude launch system for satellites, the company said. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

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    Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, takes off to for a key drop test of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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    In the penultimate mission before Virgin Orbit offers commercial satellite launch services, the 70-foot (21.34 m)LauncherOne rocket cleanly separated from the jetliner at roughly 35,000 feet, the company said. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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    Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, prior to its takeoff on a key drop test of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California, U.S. July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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    The rocket, loaded with water and antifreeze to simulate the weight of fuel, crashed as planned into the Mojave Desert as the jetliner, nicknamed Cosmic Girl, continued on its flight path. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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    Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart walks past a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner prior to a drop test of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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    Virgin Orbit has fallen slightly behind Rocket Lab, which has already completed six orbital launches, though VirginOrbit says its rocket can haul about twice the weight. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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