The first launch from Spaceport Cornwall will take place on Monday evening. (Image: virgin orbit)
History will be made tomorrow when the UK’s first horizontal rocket launch takes place.
The eyes of the world will be on Cornwall as Spaceport Cornwall ushers in a new era of space exploration for the UK.
A modified Boeing 747 called the Cosmic Girl will take off from Newquay, carrying the LauncherOne rocket, which will launch at an altitude of 35,000 feet over the Atlantic and send a satellite into space.
A select number of people will be able to see it live in person at the launch site, after reserving tickets to the historic event. However, if you are not one of them, you can still watch the event live, from the comfort of your home.
As well as the live stream of the launch which will air overnight at Spaceport Cornwall, it will also be live on Virgin Orbit’s YouTube channel, when people in the Duchy will be able to join viewers around the world to watch the launch. in real time.
Coverage will begin at 9:00pm UK time on Monday, when the public can join the hosts, mission control and the Virgin Orbit team for a live feed of pre-flight operations and pitch comments throughout the day.
Times for the launch viewing event on Monday are as follows, though they are subject to change:
• 7:00 pm: Members of the public who have reserved tickets to attend in person will begin arriving at the site
• 22:16 to 23:16: Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl will take off horizontally, carrying the rocket
• 22:54 to 23:54: launch of the rocket
• Tuesday midnight to 1 am: Cosmic Girl will return to base
• 1:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday: Confirmation of the separation of the satellite from the rocket
Cosmic Girl will fly west from Newquay before launching LauncherOne over the sea.
The flight path for the launch of the first horizontal rocket from Spaceport Cornwall (Image: Cornish spaceport)
Virgin Orbit Mission: Start Me Up marks their first international release and only the sixth overall for Virgin Orbit. ‘Start Me Up’ was chosen as a tribute to the Rolling Stones.
Cornwall Airport Newquay was chosen as the base for Spaceport Cornwall due to its existing infrastructure. The airport has one of the longest runways for a regional airport in the UK due to its RAF base and has direct access to a flight path over the Atlantic.
There is also a low civilian population in the surrounding area compared to many other UK airports.
You can read more about Cornwall Newquay’s commercial airport’s rise to a space hub here: The story of how Cornwall Newquay Airport became a new hub for the space industry
The project has been spearheaded by the UK Space Agency and Virgin Orbit along with Cornwall Council, which has provided the bulk of the funding, with the UK Space Agency contributing £11.3m.