Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Experimental Rocket Launched From Jumbo Jet Takes Central Coast Satellite Into Orbit

(Virgin Orbit photo)
Virgin Orbit prepares a 747 carrying a rocket designed to launch a rocket carrying some small satellites into orbit Sunday.

A small satellite built at a Central Coast university is now in orbit thanks to a cutting edge experimental launch involving a jumbo jet and a rocket.  Virgin Orbit used a modified 747 and a specially built rocket to put ten small satellites into a low earth orbit Sunday.

The Mojave Desert based plane flew up past the 30,000 foot level.  Then, the rocket being carried under one of the plane's wings was released and ignited, carrying the payload into orbit.

One of the ten educational satellites was built by a team at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  

This was the first successful launch for Virgin Orbit.  The company is trying to develop a more affordable way to get small satellites into space.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.