Virgin Orbit to launch Oman’s first mission to deep space

Virgin Orbit's Cosmic Girl adapted Boeing 747 rocket launcher from below
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
27 January 2022

Virgin Orbit has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sultanate of Oman, SatRevolution, TUATARA and ETCO to collaborate on Oman’s first mission to deep space, in addition to an earlier agreement to deliver small satellites to Low Earth Orbit, including the first in Oman’s history.

As part of the historic deep space mission, Virgin Orbit will launch a satellite designed by SatRevolution, sending it to deep space to conduct cutting-edge scientific research and capture high-resolution images. All data and images collected will be analysed using computer vision, machine learning and AI solutions developed by Poland-based AI data analytics specialists TUATARA in partnership with Omani-based emerging technology innovator ETCO. The mission will collect data regarding the hidden patterns that underlie climate change, and the aftereffects of natural disasters. It could also provide scientists with essential information needed to understand what occurs on the surface of Earth’s neighbours.

Oman signing ceremony with Virgin Orbit
Virgin Orbit

The first ever Omani satellite, manufactured by SatRevolution, will be launched on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne in the first ever launch from the UK out of Spaceport Cornwall this year. This sets the foundation for allowing previously non-space faring nations the ability to launch satellites from their own soil, which is a key element of the Oman strategy for space.

“Only a few nations have been bold enough to venture into deep space, but with Oman’s strong vision supported by cutting edge launch and spacecraft technology another spacefaring nation is about to join those ranks,” said Virgin Orbit’s CEO Dan Hart. “We are proud to have been entrusted by the Sultanate of Oman as their exclusive launch partner in helping to fulfill the goals of bringing sustainable space solutions to Oman. Beginning with the launch of the first Omani satellites out of the first UK launch this year, the progression has been set for a myriad of space missions to expand technology, science and exploration.”

Virgin Orbit prepares for the Above the Clouds launch
Virgin Orbit

Tariq Al Belushi, ETCO Vice President added: “The future of the Sultanate of Oman is one of innovation, and it’s through partnerships with pioneering organizations like Virgin Orbit that we will make active contributions to those sectors and technologies that are driving progress on a global scale. This partnership is a major step in helping us to enrich the Sultanate’s Space industry with the latest technologies and know-how, while adding overall economic value according to Oman’s 2040 Vision.”

Visit Virgin Orbit to find out more.