Richard Branson Launches New Company to Compete With Elon Musk
Earlier in this year, Richard Branson established the company Virgin Orbit, another addition to his massive empire. It is a business that is focused on launching satellites commercially. Branson’s company has added yet another company off shooting from Virgin Orbit called Vox Space. This company is prepared to compete with other companies for the United States Military contracts.
Virgin Orbit already makes use of a Boeing 747 that they had modified in order to launch small satellites. They have dubbed the modified 747 as Cosmic Girl. It is also in the process of testing a rocket known as LauncherOne, which is aiming to provide a completely new method of sending satellites into space.
Vox Space is being set up by Branson’s empire as a different company in order to keep Virgin Orbit free from all restrictions that come along when a company has to comply with the US government regulations while setting up Vox Space to conform to all of them.
There are only two outfits right now, which have their rockets approved by the officials from the United States government for use in military contracts. These two companies are SpaceX, which is Elon Musk’s private company and the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which is a joint venture between the two aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
It is a fact for everyone to see that the US government has a very good relationship with Elon Musk’s SpaceXCompany – the investment of millions of dollars that the US Air Force made into the development ofSpaceX’s Raptor Engine makes it very clear. At the same time, the Department of Defense has been providing billions of dollars worth of funding to the United Launch Alliance. This can make it a difficult task for Vox Space to establish a strong footing in the commercial space industry.
Instead of developing some new technology to conduct its launching practices, Vox Space will be making use of their LauncherOne system. Considering the intense level of competition Vox Space has from the other two companies, it has to bring in something unique that would provide the US Military contracts an alternate to SpaceX and the ULA. These two companies make use of launching pads for launching their rockets out into space. Vox Spaces takes a whole different approach by making use of conventional aircraft which have rockets attached to them and launches the vessel while the conventional aircraft is in flight.
The only drawback that Vox Space has with this atypical approach of theirs is the fact that they cannot launch a large payload into orbit using this technique. It can carry only about 400 pounds worth compared toSpaceX’s Falcon 9, which can carry 50,000 pounds of payload into low orbit and 18,300 pounds into a farther orbit. But it looks like Vox Space is aiming to specialize in launching smaller satellites and it can possibly dominate that part of the market with its exceptionally cost-effective methods.