May 21 2020  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Panasonic connectivity to fly on Virgin Orbit

By Rick Lundstrom

Panasonic Avionics Corporation has been selected by Virgin Orbit to provide inflight connectivity for its airborne rocket launch platform.

Panasonic’s latest generation high speed inflight connectivity system has been installed on Cosmic Girl, the modified 747-400 that serves as the carrier aircraft for Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system. Virgin Orbit is currently undergoing final rehearsals for an orbital launch demonstration expected soon.

“The inflight connectivity service will enable Virgin Orbit to monitor the health of the launch system over land and sea,” said a release from Panasonic. “The high bandwidth capacity of Panasonic’s connectivity network will ensure Virgin Orbit’s mission control center can quickly and easily communicate with the rocket prior to launch.”

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “Virgin Orbit is set to deliver an exciting step forward in satellite launching technology, and we are thrilled to support their vision with our inflight connectivity.”

Virgin Orbit builds and operates LauncherOne, a dedicated launch service for commercial and government-built small satellites.

LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and will be air-launched from Virgin Orbit’s modified 747-400 carrier aircraft – allowing it to operate from locations worldwide in order to best serve each customer’s needs.

“We designed LauncherOne to be more mobile and flexible than any other platform out there, and that’s required us to implement innovative, cutting-edge solutions throughout the system. We’re grateful to Panasonic Avionics for their support — helping us keep eyes on our flight crew, Cosmic Girl, and the rocket as we fly out to our launch point. We’re certainly looking forward to having this technology in action during our upcoming launch demo,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart.

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