The first-ever orbital satellite launch from the UK – and Europe – will take off tonight (Monday 9 January). The so-called “Turn me onmission, led by the US-based virgin jobdeparts from Spaceport Cornwall at Newquay Airport around 21:15 UTC.
You can watch the launch via Virgin Orbit’s live stream below:
At the center of the mission is a modified Boeing 747 aircraft, the Cosmic Girl, equipped with Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One missile carrying nine civil and defense satellites.
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Cosmic Girl will take off from Spaceport Cornwall and will ascend to an altitude of 35,000 feet (10.6 kilometers) over the Atlantic Ocean. After about an hour of flying, he releases the rocket. Launcher One will then perform one orbital burn with each of its two stages before releasing the satellites.
If the mission succeeds (subject to favorable weather and no technical shortcomings), it will be a major milestone for the UK space industry and mark the beginning of a domestic launch industry.
“The development of new orbital launch capabilities is already driving growth, catalyzing investment and creating jobs in Cornwall and other communities across the UK,” said Ian Annett, deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency, in a statement. pronunciation.
“I look forward to seeing more launches from other UK spaceports in the coming year, putting us firmly on the map as Europe’s premier destination for small satellite commercial launches,” he added.