Virgin Orbit Will Take the First Dutch Defense Satellite to Space

Breanna De Vera

Breanna de Vera is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is currently a senior at the University of Southern California, studying journalism and English literature. She previously reported for the campus publications The Daily Trojan and Annenberg Media.

virgin orbit launcherone rocket

Virgin Orbit will launch the Dutch Ministry of Defense's first satellite into space later this year. It comes over a week after the Long Beach-based company successfully placed satellites from its LauncherOne rocket into orbit for the first time.

The company announced Monday it had been selected by the Dutch space engineering company Innovative Solutions in Space to propel the Royal Netherlands Air Force's first satellite, BRIK II, into space.


Senior business development associate Bret Perry said the partnership has been discussed over the past few years — the Dutch Ministry of Defense is a very active member in the Responsive Space Capabilities Memorandum of Understanding, and Virgin Orbit hosted members of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Team at their factory in 2019.

The BRIK-II will be a test for communications experiments and military operations uses, and since there will be extra room on the launch, the small satellite will be accompanied by U.S. Department of Defense payloads.

Rideshares in this context are still fairly unusual, said Virgin Orbit spokesperson Kendall Russell. However, as satellites get smaller and launching gets cheaper, he believes we'll see even more international collaboration, particularly as the private and commercial launch markets grow.

Virgin Orbit will also be utilizing "late-load" integration, meaning the company will add its payload to the rocket right before launch. Though this integration isn't necessary, as there is enough lead time, Virgin Orbit is hoping to demonstrate its capabilities for future launches.

According to Perry, the standard lead time is about 30 days, but satellite operators in commercial and government communities often need much shorter lead times.

"I can already foresee the day when we will take off from a runway on Dutch soil and deliver RNLAF satellites to space directly. LauncherOne's unique air launch capability is filling a gap for government space missions — mobility and responsiveness are sorely needed to disincentivize aggression in space at a time when we rely more and more on a threatened space infrastructure," said Dan Hart, Virgin Orbit's chief executive officer, in a statement.

Virgin Orbit successfully completed a second launch test of its LauncherOne rocket a week ago, following a failed launch eight months earlier. Its competitors include Rocket Lab and Firefly Aerospace, companies that also use launches from mid air to send satellites to space.

According to the Virgin Orbit website, the company also has launches booked by customers including the UK Royal Air Force, Swarm Technologies, Denmark's GomSpace and Italy's SITAEL.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients
Courtesy of Regard

Culver City-based health care startup Regard, which uses AI-driven software to help physicians accurately diagnose patients, has raised $15.3 million in Series A funding.

Pasadena-based Calibrate Ventures and Colorado-based Foundry Group led the investment in Regard, formerly known as HealthTensor. Other investors that participated in the round include TenOneTen Ventures, Susa Ventures, Brook Byers of Byers Capital and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. The new funding will be used to grow Regard’s team and customer base, the company said in a press release.

Read moreShow less

This Week in 'Raises': Regard Secures $15M, MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Second Fund

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in 'Raises': Regard Secures $15M, MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Second Fund
Image by Joshua Letona

This week in “Raises”: A local healthcare startup secured funding to help grow the team and deploy its software to more physicians and hospitals, while Black-led, seed-stage venture capital firm surpassed its goal for its second fund.

Read moreShow less

How Braid Theory Plans to Build the Blue Economy from the Port of LA

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

How Braid Theory Plans to Build the Blue Economy from the Port of LA
Photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

San Pedro-based Braid Theory is one of the growing number of accelerators in the country looking to grow the so-called blue economy, which spans a range of ocean-related industries and is estimated at $2.5 trillion a year.

The accelerator is accepting online applications until July 18, with its second-ever program kicking off in August.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending