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Sunday, July 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Virgin Orbit conducts drop-test of rocket from Boeing 747

In this photo provided by Virgin Orbit, a rocket is dropped from a Boeing 747 airplane flying above Edwards Air Force Base in California on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. (Greg Robinson / AP)
In this photo provided by Virgin Orbit, a rocket is dropped from a Boeing 747 airplane flying above Edwards Air Force Base in California on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. (Greg Robinson / AP)
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – Virgin Galactic’s sister company Virgin Orbit has conducted a drop test of its air-launched satellite booster over California.

The 70-foot LauncherOne rocket was released Wednesday from a Boeing 747 over an Edwards Air Force Base test range in the Mojave Desert.

The purpose of the test was to observe how the rocket detached from the 747’s wing and its free-fall to the desert floor.

The company tweeted that the crews of the 747 and a chase plane reported a clean release.

The test did not involve ignition of the rocket motor.

The company founded by Richard Branson will use the system to launch small satellites into space from multiple locations around the globe, enabling access to orbits that are more difficult to reach from fixed launch sites.

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