Virgin Galactic announces plans to develop a new LauncherOne two stage rocket that would be air-launched from a WhiteKnightTwo vehicle to place satellites up to 225 kg into orbit "for prices below $10 million". They have orders for launches from four private firms. Operations would start in 2016:
Virgin Galactic Reveals Privately Funded Satellite Launcher and Confirms SpaceShipTwo Poised for Powered Flight:
New vehicle “LauncherOne” to transform small satellite market, as space tourism business powers into final leg of test flights Virgin Galactic
Today during the Farnborough International Air Show 2012, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, announced “LauncherOne”, a new air-launched rocket specifically designed to deliver small satellites into orbit. With substantial funding already raised from Virgin Galactic’s partner aabar Investments PJS, and with commercial flights of this new orbital launch vehicle expected to begin by 2016, Virgin Galactic aims to offer frequent and dedicated launches at the world’s lowest prices. Virgin Galactic also announced that four private companies have already put down deposits as future LauncherOne customers, expressing their intent to purchase a total of several dozen launches, which would exceed the level of early commitment of any previous new launch vehicle.
At the same ...