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Sep 29 2015

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LauncherOne has successful engine tests

LauncherOne Engine Tests Successful. The firing lasted 20 seconds.

Here’s the NewtonThree engine test:

LauncherOne’s orbital flights are achieved using two rocket engines: a single 73,500 lbf thrust ‘NewtonThree’ main stage engine, and a single 5,000 lbf thrust ‘NewtonFour’ upper stage engine. Both the NewtonThree and the NewtonFour are highly reliable, pump-fed LOX/RP-1 liquid rocket engines designed, tested, and built by Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic projects that they’ll be able to launch a 200 kg satellite into Sun Synchronous orbit for less than $10 million. If they succeed in reaching that price-point, they’ll be on par with SpaceX’s launch price to LEO per kg (SpaceX: $4653.99 vs Virgin Galactic $4,750 estimated). This would be a BIG DEAL, especially since SpaceX is not focused on the small sat launch market at all.

I’m still not 100% convinced there’s enough of a small sat launch market to be sustainable, but 200 kg isn’t exactly small either. You can get a lot of capability out of a 200 kg satellite.

Congrats to the LauncherOne team!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/09/29/launcherone-has-successful-engine-tests/

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