Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit to take flight at 6 p.m. tonight

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Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit could take flight as early as 6 p.m. tonight after the first historic launch delayed due to a sensor failure.

The LauncherOne rocket is expected to turn on its engines between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. GMT (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. PST), Virgin Orbit said in a statement.

Yesterday’s launch at Mojave Air and Space Port in California had to be canceled as teams rushed to empty the fuel cartridges due to a faulty sensor.

It is hoped that the rocket, which will be transported through the sky attached to the wing of a Boeing 747 before being released, may one day be used to launch small satellites into space.

LauncherOne is scheduled to fly from Mojave Air and Space Port in California between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. tonight, said Virgin Orbit.

LauncherOne is scheduled to fly from Mojave Air and Space Port in California between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. tonight, said Virgin Orbit.

Yesterday's launch had to be canceled due to a faulty sensor. In the photo, teams are working to resolve the problem

Yesterday’s launch had to be canceled due to a faulty sensor. In the photo, teams are working to resolve the problem

The teams working to solve the launch problem yesterday (photo). Virgin Orbit announced the new takeoff time on its Twitter account just after midnight UK time

The teams working to solve the launch problem yesterday (photo). Virgin Orbit announced the new takeoff time on its Twitter account just after midnight UK time

Virgin Orbit said just after midnight UK time: “Our team has been working diligently to resolve the sensor issue and recycle the system.

“We are now back in the countdown, and we are currently targeting another launch attempt tomorrow, with our window open again from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pacific (5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. UTC). “

They tweeted photos of crews working to remove fuel at the airfield, and the LaunchOne rocket still firmly attached to the wing of the aircraft.

Yesterday, announcing the delay, they said: “Everything went well: the team, the plane and the rocket are in excellent condition. However, we have a sensor that works.

“As a precaution, we are unloading fuel to remedy this.”

Virgin Orbit team tweeted that it should delay launch due to sensor yesterday

The Virgin Orbit team tweeted that it had to delay the launch due to a sensor yesterday

The plan called for the modified airline Boeing 747 to release LauncherOne (photo) under its wings in the air before the rocket ignites its own engines.

The plan was for the modified airline Boeing 747 to release LauncherOne (photo) under its wings in the air before the rocket ignites its own engines.

“It means we’re rubbed in for today. Currently, it looks like we have a simple way to fix this minor sensor issue and recycle quickly.

“The crew are already working hard to execute this plan. We will provide an update on the new launch target later today. “

A successful launch will mark the first test flight of the front vehicle and bring it closer to commercial operations.

LauncherOne will have to reach an altitude of at least 50 miles to be successful,

Virgin Orbit Vice President of Special Projects Will Pomerantz said on Saturday that although he is aware that “about half” of an aerospace company’s first full flights fail, he is confident that the job team behind the project had done to arrive at this time.

If LauncherOne had reached an altitude of 80 kilometers, this would be the first time that this system has successfully launched anything into space. Pictured: Virgin's Richard Branson in 2019

If LauncherOne had reached an altitude of 80 kilometers, this would be the first time that this system has successfully launched anything into space. Pictured: Virgin’s Richard Branson in 2019

Pomerantz said, “You basically come to a point where you’ve looked under each rock and verify that there is nothing more to do to verify that the system is ready. “

“That’s what we did.

“We’ve gone through a huge amount of testing, we’ve basically done everything we can think of what we should be doing, including filling the rocket with cryogenics and fuel and pressure and flying it down. “

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