The satellite-launching company of British billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin Orbit, launched a LauncherOne rocket into space from over the Pacific Ocean with ten NASA satellites on board.
It was the company's first successful launch of the two-stage rocket from an aircraft, modified version of the Boeing 747 called Cosmic Girl. Last year, the California-based firm failed.
An hour after the launch, Virgin Orbit confirmed the success of the operation.
"This magnificent flight is the culmination of many years of hard work and will also unleash a whole new generation of innovators on the path to orbit," said Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.
According to experts, this launch should push Virgin Orbit to start commercial operation of its system regularly. This launching rocket method is unique. It does not require a cosmodrome – an ordinary runway and aircraft capable of reaching an altitude of more than 10 kilometers will suffice.