According to an announcement made today, July 11, by Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson, the company will enter the commercial satellite launch business, through a newly-developed delivery system, which will carry out its maiden flight in about 4 years.
Dubbed LauncherOne, the new rocket has two stages, and will take off from underneath the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, the same that also flies the company's SpaceShiptTwo suborbital spacecraft high into Earth's atmosphere.
The rocket was introduced to the general public during a briefing held at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show, in the United Kingdom. Branson says that his company already has a number of clients lined up for launch services.
This program is a “step that will bring great long-term benefits to our existing SpaceShipTwo program. It will unlock new technologies and will help fast-track the potential of space as a positive force for powerful change,” the Virgin Galactic official told the media, Space