RAF Joins Virgin Orbit Space Programme – launch in 2020

RAF Joins Virgin Orbit Space Programme
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RAF Joins Virgin Orbit Space Programme. Video shows how it can be done

The Royal Air Force and Virgin Orbit selected the RAF pilot to be seconded to the company’s ground-breaking small satellite launch programme.

Flight Lieutenant Mathew Stannard will be the first RAF pilot to help launch a satellite. It is part of the Ministry of Defence’s £30m space programme.

He will be swapping the cockpit of his RAF Typhoon jet for a heavier and slower Boeing 747.

The specially adapted passenger plane has been designed to carry a rocket which can launch satellites into space.

Working with the Virgin Orbit programme in California, Flt Lt Stannard, who is based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, will be a pioneer of the fledgling Space Force.


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