Virgin Orbit rocket launches 7 US defense satellites

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A Virgin Orbit rocket completed a mission for the U.S. Defense Department on Friday night launching a series of satellites.

The satellites were launched from a special Boeing 747 flying off the Southern California coast.

The modified jumbo jet took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the Mojave Desert and released the rocket over the Pacific Ocean.

A view of Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner. (REUTERS/Gene Blevins / Reuters Photos)

It was a mission arranged by the U.S. Space Force for a Defense Department test program. 

The seven satellites will conduct various experiments.

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Virgin Orbit was founded in 2017 by British billionaire Richard Branson. It is headquartered in Long Beach, California, and currently conducts launches from the Mojave airport but is planning international missions.

Sir Richard Branson speaks after he flew into space aboard a Virgin Galactic vessel, a voyage he described as the “experience of a lifetime” — and one he hopes will usher in an era of lucrative space tourism at Spaceport America, near Truth and Cons (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images  | Virgin Orbit / Getty Images)

It was Virgin Orbit's fourth commercial launch and first night launch. 

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The launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but a propellant temperature issue caused the postponement.

In this photo illustration, a Virgin Orbit Holdings logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen.  ((Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

The mission was named "Straight Up" after the Paula Abdul hit which was released through Virgin Records in 1988.

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The company plans to launch two satellites on a mission from Cornwall, England later this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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