How do you build a rocket?

Virgin Orbit's Cosmic Girl on the ground with LauncherOne
Virgin Orbit
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
22 March 2022

Ever wondered how Virgin Orbit makes its rocket that launches satellites into space? In a new video produced with Supercluster, Virgin Orbit has revealed what happens at its factory in Long Beach, California.

Virgin Orbit builds rockets faster than it was ever thought possible, but to do that it needs to combine functions that are performed by humans with those completed by robots. The video reveals the incredible work that goes into building a rocket – robots winding carbon fibre to create materials strong enough to withstand the pressure of supersonic flight, machines making exact cuts and markings into fuel tanks, and more. All of these things would have each previously taken weeks or months to complete but Virgin Orbit is now able to do them in no time at all.

It is, of course, extremely important that any mistakes or blemishes during manufacturing are spotted so quality control plays a very important role in the process. Robots also feature in quality control, completing many checks at the same time.

Virgin Orbit is preparing to launch the first Welsh satellite into space in the first space launch from the UK this year.

Visit Virgin Orbit to find out more.