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Virgin Orbit establishes new Brazilian subsidiary and receives operator’s license

Cosmic Girl releases LauncherOne mid-air for the first time during a July 2019 drop test. Credit: Virgin Orbit / Greg Robinson

Edinburgh / Long Beach, 29 June 2022. – Virgin Orbit’s newly formed and wholly owned Brazilian subsidiary, Virgin Orbit Brasil, has been formally granted an operator’s license to allow LauncherOne launch operations in Brazil, said Virgin Orbit alongside the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB). The license allows for LauncherOne deployments from the Alcântara Launch Center as early as 2023.

Virgin Orbit Brasil, dedicated to Brazilian space activities, is designed to bring a new capability to the country, Virgin said. The LauncherOne system uses a customized 747 aircraft named Cosmic Girl, as a fully reusable launch pad. The aircraft will conduct launches from the Brazilian site’s existing airbase. Virgin’s mobile launch equipment enables the team to securely transport the entire system without having to carry out further construction works. 

Several suborbital rockets have launched from the Alcântara Launch Center but it has never been used to reach Earth orbit. LauncherOne will make Alcântara one of the only continental spaceports capable of reaching any orbital inclination. 

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