Virgin Orbit awards ExoTerra a contract to develop its LauncherOne’s upper stage

The successful space launch missions inaugurated this year formed the basis for space companies to schedule more space projects. The planned commercial space expeditions aim to send more scientists and astronauts to other planets searching for conditions that could favor human habitation. The overwhelming human population on Earth renders the planet incapable of providing enough natural resources. The situation worsens with the recent threats from global warming and climate change. The devastating effects continue to stir up several research projects that aim to establish a permanent human settlement in other places in the solar system. The first destination is Mars, famously known as the Red Planet, one of the few planets with the possibility of supporting human life. The space industry continues to receive considerable investments to facilitate the necessary scientific research needed to ascertain the planet’s environment. Recently, a developer of space technologies launched CubeSats to study Mars’ atmospheric conditions to compare it with Earth. The satellites evaluated the interactions of the atmospheric currents and the radiation energy from the Sun. 

ExoTerra Resources, a startup based in Colorado, received a contract from NASA’s program for Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) on October 5. ExoTerra will develop a solar-powered upper stage for Virgin Orbit’s launch vehicle, the LauncherOne, to enable a smooth spaceflight for satellites traveling beyond the Earth’s lower orbital path. ExoTerra plans to innovate the Solar Electric Propulsion Upper Stage or SEPUS for the LauncherOne for customers seeking to reach destinations far beyond. Outer space such as the geostationary orbit, the Earth-Moon Lagrange coordinates, the Moon’s lower orbit, and the Trans-lunar Injection Orbit. According to a press release from ExoTerra, the development of the cutting-edge propulsion technologies will unlock limitless opportunities for more crewed missions to explore outer space. Commercial spaceflight service providers continue to show interest in becoming potential customers for ExoTerra’s technology for rocket boosters. 

ExoTerra’s officials said that the contract allows the company to kick-off the development of the SEPUS, designed to deliver nearly 150 kilograms of shipment to Moon. The propulsion system will transport several 180-kilograms deliveries to the geostationary orbit. The scheduled missions will pioneer the integration of the eagerly awaited SEPUS into future launch vehicles for upcoming launch missions with or without crew members. In 2019, Virgin Orbit announced the plans to send miniature satellites to the Red Planet by 2022 for SatRevolution, a satellite manufacturer based in Poland. 

In conclusion, Virgin Orbit anticipates growth in customer demand for LauncherOne spaceflights to an elliptical orbit, the Moon, the Red Planet, Venus, geostationary orbit recently studied asteroid belt. Many space enthusiasts cannot wait to see asteroid rock and boulders’ fascinating scenery in outer space.


By Andrew Davis

Andrew is a young communications professional with disciplined training and apt exposure. He has been a voice for a number of media houses in the country and overseas. Travel, Technology, Consumer, Real Estate and Healthcare have been his main areas of practice using conventional messaging with effective digital strategies.
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