Rocket arrives for first UK space launch

Rocket arrives for first UK space launch

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne – the rocket that will conduct the first-ever orbital mission blasting off from the United Kingdom itself – has been delivered to its spaceport.

The rocket will be used to launch payloads into orbit from Spaceport Cornwall. Its’ arrival follows on from the arrival Ground Support Equipment (GSE), and puts means that Spaceport Cornwall is on track for its first launch this November.

The rocket left California on a C-17 military aircraft late on Thursday 13th of October and touched down at Cornwall Airport Newquay on Friday evening.

Its November mission will see 7 payloads blasted into an Earth Orbit including the first ever satellite launched by the Sultanate of Oman focused on Earth Observation; future-facing return satellite tech aboard Wales’ first satellite, built by Space Forge; a Maritime monitoring payload built by Horizon Technologies and the Satellite Applications Catapult; as well satellites from the MOD, DSTL and US National Reconnaissance Office.

Virgin Orbit’s launch carrier aircraft – Cosmic Girl – will carry LauncherOne to an altitude of roughly 35,000 ft before deploying the rocket.

If all goes well the launch will be the first orbital launch ever from the United Kingdom; the first international launch for Virgin Orbit, and the first commercial launch from Western Europe.

Spaceport Cornwall hopes the launch will be the first of many.

Born to Engineer Weekly

Get the latest Engineering news delivered to your inbox every Monday morning