January 27, 2023

The primary ever orbital satellite tv for pc launch from the UK — and Europe — is ready for takeoff tonight (Monday, January 9). The so-called “Start Me UP” mission, led by US-based Virgin Orbit, will set out from Spaceport Cornwall at Newquay Airport at round 21:15 UTC.

You possibly can watch the launch through Virgin Orbit’s livestream beneath:

On the heart of the mission is a modified Boeing 747 plane, the Cosmic Woman, which is fitted with Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket carrying 9 civil and protection satellites.

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The guts of tech is coming to the center of the Mediterranean

Cosmic Woman will take off from Spaceport Cornwall and can ascend to an altitude of 35,000 toes (10.6 kilometers) above the Atlantic Ocean. Following about an hour of flying, it’ll launch the rocket. Launcher One will then carry out one orbital burn with every of its two levels earlier than releasing the satellites.

If the mission succeeds (offering favorable climate and no technical shortcomings), it will likely be a serious milestone for the UK’s area sector, marking the start of a domestic-based launch business.

“The event of latest orbital launch capabilities is already producing progress, catalyzing funding, and creating jobs in Cornwall and different communities throughout the UK,” Ian Annett, Deputy CEO on the UK Area Company, stated in a statement.

“I look ahead to seeing extra launches from different UK spaceports over the subsequent yr, placing us firmly on the map as Europe’s main vacation spot for industrial small satellite tv for pc launch,” he added.