7 US defence satellites are launched by a Virgin Orbit rocket.

LOS ANGELES (AP) —Seven US Defense Department satellites were on a Virgin Orbit rocket that took off from a modified Boeing 747 flying off the coast of Southern California. The rocket sped into space.

The modified jumbo jet took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the Mojave Desert and dropped the rocket over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Los Angeles.

The launch was paid for by the United States Space Force as part of a Defense Department test programme. The seven payloads will carry out a variety of investigations.

“And there you have it, people!” Approximately an hour after the rocket separated from the 747, the company tweeted shortly before 1 a.m. local time. “NewtonFour successfully reignited and launched all customer spacecraft into their intended orbit.”

It was Virgin Orbit’s fourth commercial launch and the company’s first at night. The launch was supposed to happen on Wednesday night, but it was cancelled because of a problem with the temperature of the propellant.

The mission was named “Straight Up” after Paula Abdul’s debut studio album, “Forever Your Girl,” which was published by Virgin Records in 1988.

Richard Branson, the British billionaire, established Virgin Orbit in 2017. It is based in Long Beach, California, and currently launches from the Mojave airport, though international missions are in the works.

Later this year, the business plans to launch two satellites from Newquay Airport in Cornwall, England. As part of a project between the Ministry of Defense in the UK and the National Reconnaissance Office in the US, the satellites will be used to test different ways to monitor radio signals.

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