Virgin Orbit completed the first drop test of its LauncherOne rocket this week. The drop test marks a major milestone in the program to send small satellites into space aboard a rocket launched from a modified 747.
The drop test was the first release of the rocket from the 747 launch platform after months of captive carry tests. Because of the unique method employed by Virgin Orbit to launch the rocket, the moment of release is visible in Flightradar24 data.
In the image above, it is easy to see the climb and turn performed by the 747 as it releases the rocket from under its left wing. Below LauncherOne is mounted to Cosmic Girl, the 747 launch platform that previously flew for Virgin Atlantic.
Additional tests are upcoming before the first live fire launch of the rocket. Stay tuned!