LOS ANGELES (Associated Press) – A Virgin Orbit rocket carrying seven U.S. Defense Department satellites has been launched from a special Boeing 747 flying off the Southern California coast.

The modified jumbo jet took off Friday night from Mojave Air and Space Port in the Mojave Desert and released the rocket over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Los Angeles.

The launch was procured by the U.S. Space Force for a Defense Department test program.

The seven payloads will conduct various experiments.

It was Virgin Orbit’s first night launch.

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