The first orbiting space launcher is due to leave the UK Today.
A modified Boeing 747 known as “Cosmic Girl,” takes off from Cornwall Spaceport, England. When it reaches 35,000 feet in the air, the modified aircraft launches a rocket called LauncherOne into space.
The LauncherOne rocket carries several payloads into orbit, including Wales’ first satellite and Oman’s first Earth observation satellite.
As well as being the UK’s first orbital launch, it is also Western Europe’s first commercial launch.
“We can’t wait to see the rocket up in the sky soon and deliver useful satellite technology to low Earth orbit,” said Melissa Thorpe, director of the Cornwall Spaceport, in an October 15 press release modified aircraft piloted by billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, which was originally supposed to launch in December before it failed to meet all its license requirements on time and while the historic mission “Start Me Up,” named after a Rolling Stones song, is scheduled for Jan 9th.
The launch of the rocket is horizontal compared to other vertical space missions such as those conducted by SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Cosmic Girl, a refurbished Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-00, is due to take off from Cornwall Cosmic Flight at 5.16 p.m. ET and 6:16 p.m. ET with the LauncherOne rocket below the left side. When the plane reaches 35,000 feet (approximately), 0 minutes after takeoff, the pilot presses a button that launches a 70-foot, two-stage rocket.
According to Virgin Orbit’s plans, Cosmic Girl will return to the spaceport an hour later. Meanwhile,LaucherOne accelerates into the sky before the first stage separates from the second. Once the second stage reaches low Earth orbit, it will release a set of nine satellites.
After all the satellites are delivered, the second stage falls back to Earth and burns up in the atmosphere.
The UK aims to be a “science superpower.” Overall, this is Virgin Orbit’s sixth mission. The company named the mission “Start Me Up” as a tribute to the famous British rock band the Rolling Stones.
At a press conference, Cornwall Spacefield Director Melissa Thorpe said, “I can’t wait for the UK to join this exclusive launch club.”