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Test Mission To Launch Rocket Into Space Could Take Place Off Central Coast Monday

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(Virgin Orbit photo)
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A converted 747 will be used to see if it can successfully deploy a rocket which could put satellites into a low earth orbit

A test mission to see if a jumbo jet and a special rocket could be used to launch small satellites into orbit could take place Monday morning off the Central Coast.

Virgin Orbit had planned the test flight for Sunday, but a sensor issue prompted the flight’s delay for 24 hours. 

Plans call for a modified 747 to carry a 70-foot-long rocket to 35,000 feet, where it will be launched. 

The mission is intended to test the flight capability, so the rocket only carries a dummy payload.  The project could create a much more economical way of launching small satellites into low earth orbit.

The window for the test mission is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, with the transport aircraft taking off from Mojave, and flying over the Central Coast and over the ocean for the test launch.