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Virgin Orbit to launch its first UK satellite from Cornwall

Richard Branson’s satellite launch company Virgin Orbit has announced that it will have its first international launch from Spaceport Cornwall later this year.

The launch will follow in the phases of Virgin Orbit’s “Straight Up” mission, launched from Mojave, California on Saturday.

Virgin Orbit is competing with the likes of SpaceX to launch small commercial satellites into Earth’s orbit. However, where SpaceX uses reusable rockets that rise vertically from a launch keyplane, the Virgin Orbit uses a modified Boeing 747 to carry a rocket 10,000km above sea level before the payload ceases and continues with its payload. trip to orbit.

Matthew Archer, director, commercial spaceflight, UK Space Agency, said: “The UK has some of the world’s leading satellite manufacturers, currently launching their products overseas for launch.”

Archer added: “We are supporting them by fostering a new domestic shipping market, with spaceports and shipping operators providing services across the UK and encouraging investment from around the world.”

Customers launched by the UK include Space Forge, Satellite Applications Catapult and Horizon Technologies, the Ministry of Defense (MOD), Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the US National Exploration Office.

“The success of this last launch in California has been a great success for Spaceport Cornwall and the UK space sector,” said Melissa Thorpe, leader of Spaceport Cornwall.

“It was great to see both the team from Virgin Orbit and our team working together to showcase US operations in real time – making sure we are ready for a mission for the summer,” said Melissa Thorpe, Spaceport Cup leader Great.

Virgin will also work in partnership with the UK Space Agency and the Cornwall Council.

The launch is related to the launch of the Government National Spatial Strategywhich aims to make the UK the first country in Europe to launch satellites into orbit in 2022.

Spaceport Cornwall is expected to create 150 jobs in the area and is the latest vote of confidence in a small but growing UK space industry.

In June, former SpaceX executive Lee Rosen joined the Edinburgh-based rocket company Skyrora as chief operations officer.

Earth Blox is headquartered in Edinburgh £ 1.5m was recently landed develop its satellite software.

Image credit: Orbit of the Virgin / Dae Dae



Virgin Orbit to launch its first UK satellite from Cornwall

Source link Virgin Orbit to launch its first UK satellite from Cornwall

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