Like SpaceX founder Elon Musk or Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos, British billionaire Richard Branson has long had his sights set on space travel. Unlike Musk and Bezos, however, Branson believes aircraft assisted launches are the secret to making trips to the stars more affordable.

It’s with that ultimate goal in mind that Branson built “Cosmic Girl”: the first 747 ever converted for the purposes of carrying and launching space-bound rockets. According to Virgin Orbit, an arm of Branson’s aerospace empire, “Cosmic Girl” will ferry rockets loaded with small satellites to an altitude of 35,000 feet, where they are released to travel under the own power up into low earth orbit. By launching the rockets from such a high altitude, the costs and risks associated with carrying enough fuel to cover that initial distance are significantly mitigated — but those aren’t the only reasons Branson’s betting on aircraft based launches.

Because the rockets are launched from the wing of a 747 in flight, Virgin Orbit’s “Cosmic Girl” eliminates the need for dedicated rocket launch facilities for these small satellite launches. The altitude also alleviates concerns about weather delaying launches and, perhaps most importantly when compared to other aircraft-based launch systems, Virgin Mobile relies on the tried and true Boeing 747 platform. Aside from the custom rocket hard-points on “Cosmic Girl,” she’s otherwise an off-the-shelf model of one of the most common commercial aircraft on the planet. As Virgin Orbit themselves point out in a press release, choosing a tried-and-true platform over a custom built space barge has some distinct advantages.