Earlier this month, ten cubesats – small, cheap satellites belief about a kilogram each – were sent into orbit around Earth. With almost 1,500 of these small satellites launched so far, adding addition ten might seem trivial. But this was no accustomed launch.

Instead of appropriation off from the ground, the rocket accustomed these Nasa satellites was slung under the wing of a adapted Boeing 747, called Cosmic Girl. The plane agitated them to a height of 11 km (6.8 miles) before ablution the rocket.

This was the first acknowledged launch of Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, appearance the start of its bartering ventures. The aggregation hopes to accommodate cheap, adjustable accessory ablution services, after the need to use sites on the ground.

But how does ablution a rocket from a plane absolutely work?

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