While years ago a satellite was a work that cost billions of dollars and only belonged to governments, now their costs have been reduced to limits to limits acceptable even by universities. This is the case of nanosatellites, another example of the power of cheaper technology, 2.0 collaboration and maker philosophy. Nanosatellites have a mass of between 1 and 10 kg, compared to hundreds or even thousands of kilograms of a typical commercial satellite. Until November 2013, there were only 75 nanosatellites. Another 94 were put into orbit in 2014.
However, space must still be rented in some space launch to bring the mass of the satellite to Earth's orbit. However, Virgin Galactic, owned by billionaire Richard Branson, changes paradigm: he wants to take satellites into space using a simple Boeing 747 plane, like the one used by ordinary mortals to go on vacation.
For this they will use a rocket called “LauncherOne”, which instead of taking off from the mainland, will be launched from a Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The plane, previously operated by the Virgin Atlantic subsidiary, has been properly named as Cosmic Girl.
In economic terms, the maintenance of this commercial aircraft is more acceptable and, above all, it allows to save fuel to the rocket (by not launching from the ground), in addition to the advantage of being able to perform the launch basically from any airport in the world.
The purpose of this device is to carry payloads of up to 200 kilograms in standard orbits. In addition, it could take up to 400 kilograms to some other lower orbits.
Virgin Galactic plans to debut with this liquid oxygen / kerosene rocket between 2016 or 2017. Those who want to use the company's services to launch their satellites must pay a minimum of $ 10 million.
Countless companies already offer satellites to universities, individuals or other companies, such as Terran Orbital, which offers them for a few million dollars (when shortly before they could only be obtained for about 400 million dollars).
Virgin Galactic it can still lower costs more and a new satellite nation is born with all kinds of functions: communications, experiments, planet monitoring, cartography and much more.