Virgin Orbit employees celebrate the company’s debut on the NASDAQ stock exchange on Jan. 7, 2022. (Image credit: Virgin Orbit)
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stopped Virgin Orbit from landing in Times Square to ring NASDAQ bell. This satellite-launching commercial spaceflight company celebrated joining the NASDAQ stock exchange, thanks to Richard Branson. Branson brought one of his 70-foot-long rocket, LauncherOne, to ring the opening bell of the NASDAQ exchange lot commemorate that as of December 30, 2021 Virgin Orbit was now being publicly traded on the exchange.
LauncherOne, which is in the Mojave desert will begin its journey on the tarmac rather than a launch pad. The vehicle is carried aloft by a customized Boeing 747 jet dubbed Cosmic Girl, which releases the rocket at an altitude of about 35,000 feet (11,000 m). The rocket falls for four seconds then its first stage fires, reaching speeds as high as 8,000 mph (13,0000 kph); a second stage facilitates payload deployment.
January 12, 2022 will be the company’s third commercial flight.
The flight will carry four payloads for the Department of Defense. Details are scarce, but the U.S. Space Force has said that they involve “demonstrat[ing] advanced space technologies.”