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Virgin Galactic to launch satellites

Virgin Galactic, the space tourism venture being developed by Sir Richard Branson, is to offer a satellite launcher on its WhiteKnightTwo spacecraft as an extra revenue stream. The company, that plans to offer low-earth orbit excursions for the ultra-rich, is working with UK-based firm Surrey Small Satellites to offer the ability to put a 200kg satellite in space at just 10 per cent of the current cost. The group has already been developing its own launch vehicle for smaller satellites, but is keen to up the weight capability to appeal to a wider market. The plans will cater for a growing need for communication satellite launches.