Launch of the Virgin Orbit rocket will take place at Spaceport Cornwall in Cornwall, a rugged county in the southwestern tip of England.
This is a great first for the United Kingdom. Today, Monday January 9, 2023, the very first spaceflight will take place from British soil. The mission called Start Me Up, from Virgin Orbit, will orbit satellites in low Earth orbit for 7 different customers.
The First spaceflight From England
Start Me Up will be the launch of many firsts: the first ever orbital launch from the UK, the first international spaceflight for Virgin Orbit and the first commercial launch from Western Europe. Liftoff for the private company’s rocket will take place at Spaceport Cornwall in Cornwall, a rugged county in the southwestern tip of England.
“It is an incredible honor for us to be part of such a monumental project as bringing Britain into the world of space launch,” said Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit. Working with our partners in the UK government, we are building new technologies and capabilities that must serve the people, economy and security of the UK.”
UK Science Minister Nusrat Ghani said it is exhilarating to follow so closely “the progress made by Virgin Orbit, Spaceport Cornwall and the government to complete this historic mission, the first of this guy in Europe. The space industry now has 47,000 jobs across the UK. A growing sector, which is even becoming a vital part of the British economy.
In a few hours, the first spaceflight from British soil will therefore take place. A long-standing project. The Civil Aviation Authority (the CAA) has approved the licenses Virgin Orbit needs to carry out launch activities in the UK. Virgin Orbit is working with the UK Space Agency (UKSA), Cornish Council and the Royal Air Force to carry out this mission.
Since Start Me Up is a big first in several respects, Virgin Orbit said it will be very watchful of the weather. This increases the likelihood of a delay. However, the LauncherOne orbital launcher is already linked to Cosmic Girl, the Boeing 747 which will serve as the first stage launch platform. In addition to marking history, this mission will be used to put satellites into orbit, for businesses and governments.
One thinks in particular of CIRCE (Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment), a joint project between the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory of the United Kingdom and the Naval Research Laboratory of the United States.
This article is originally published on siecledigital.fr