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Sir Richard Branson's "Cosmic Girl" Turns Into Cosmic Joke!




Sir Richard Branson is reassigning one of his old Virgin Atlantic 747-400 jumbos to the service of space.

The jet will be the launch platform for the satellite rocket being developed by another of the entrepreneur's companies - Virgin Galactic.

The 747 will carry this booster to high altitude where it will be released to ignite its engine and go into orbit.

Jumbos have long played a role in space activity, most famously to transport Nasa's old shuttles across America.

Virgin Galactic will be air-launching a tourist spaceplane from underneath a jet vehicle, and originally had planned for the satellite rocket to use the same platform.

But the performance requirements of the booster have driven engineers to seek an alternative carrier.

Earlier this year, they announced they would be increasing the payload capability of the forthcoming rocket after consultations with prospective customers - a jump from 120kg of satellite payload to 200kg, into a standard orbit.

That meant stretching the tanks on the booster to accommodate more propellant, and, as a consequence, its mass and length had to increase.

The old 747-400 jumbo can handle this. Coincidentally, it used to fly in its Virgin Atlantic livery under the nickname "Cosmic Girl". It will now get a new paint job in the Virgin Galactic colours.

The company has produced a video visualisation of how the system will work. BBC Read More>>>>


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