Virgin Orbit and the Luxembourg Minister of Defence signed a Letter of Intent Oct. 17, 2022, that will begin the process towards developing responsive space capabilities inclusive of mobile launch infrastructure that would be based in Luxembourg, but available for NATO partners, and other allies across the European continent.
As part of the agreement, Virgin Orbit, in close coordination with the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence, will assess how a responsive space capability could be based in Luxembourg and optimized for use by NATO and other European allies.
Virgin Orbit Chief Executive Officer Dan Hart and Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, François Bausch, signed the Letter of Intent for the collaboration at a ceremony in Luxembourg.
“We look forward to working with the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence to explore how Virgin Orbit’s flexible and mobile LauncherOne system can provide end-to-end responsive space missions to strengthen the resiliency of NATO and other Allies,” Dan Hart, Virgin Orbit CEO said. “As we approach the first historic launch in the United Kingdom and recent announcements to bring air-launch capability to other parts of the world, this initiative in Luxembourg resonates as another significant milestone in our journey to enable resilient space access by providing a game-changing global launch infrastructure.”
In this initiative, Virgin Orbit will develop a plan for the development, delivery, mobilization, and sustainment of LauncherOne Ground Support Equipment and other responsive launch infrastructure that would be allocated for Allied use. Through this collaboration, Virgin Orbit and the Directorate of Defence will engage with partners interested in leveraging this capability and determine the necessary operating constructs and requirements for delivering responsive launch infrastructure to Luxembourg that would allow Allied nations to conduct horizontal launches from a network of active and on-call spaceports in Europe.
“Luxembourg Defence is constantly searching for new ways to strengthen its role as a reference partner in the space domain. As highlighted in our Space Strategy, we aim at contributing to the joint effort in defence by developing high-end space capabilities and ensuring access to space through resilient satellite launch capabilities,” Minister of Defence François Bausch said. “Our future cooperation with Virgin Orbit is an excellent example of this ambition and we are looking forward to further investigate how we can contribute to the development of the responsive space capability with Allies and partners.”
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne flexible launch system offers transportable, mobile, rapid and responsive launch services with the goal of developing a global spaceport network that will offer launch and integrated mission services around the world. In addition to launch services, Virgin Orbit works with partners to provide end-to-end space solutions tailored for defense and intelligence customers.
Building upon the Defence Space Strategy released earlier this year, the collaboration represents one of many activities by the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence to provide resilient SATCOM, Earth Observation, and Space Situational Awareness capabilities, and to foster international cooperation to enable and support the freedom of action in the space domain.