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UK Gearing Up for Historic Satellite Launch From Spaceport Cornwall This Summer

Britain has been working on an advanced space strategy over the last few years, which culminated with last year’s historic legislation that allowed spaceports to be built on the country’s territory for the first time. This year also promises to be memorable for UK’s space industry, as the first launch from Spaceport Cornwall is fast approaching.
The UK Space Agency is working with Virgin Orbit for the first launch from Spaceport Cornwall, later this year 7 photos
Cosmic Girl and Launcher OneCosmic Girl and Launcher OneVirgin OrbitCosmic GirlCosmic GirlCosmic Girl and Launcher One
The UK has a very ambitious goal for its space-related development – it’s set on becoming the first European country to launch satellites from its territory. Until now, the domestically-made satellites had to be transported to foreign launch sites. This was the case for the most recent one, the ADLER-1 satellite, which was shipped from Glasgow to California, for the Virgin Orbit launch.

A commercial satellite meant to gather data about the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment, as part of a wider mission to deal with the increasing space debris, the ADLER-1 was manufactured in Scotland, by Spire Global. It was part of the “Above the Clouds” mission that was successfully flown to space by Virgin Orbit, at the end of last week. This was the third successful mission of Sir Richard Branson’s space company, which sent its first satellites to space in January 2021.

What’s unusual about Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One is that it takes off horizontally, as it’s being carried by a modified Boeing 747 jet, known as Cosmic Girl. Another success for the UK was the fact that Cosmic Girl was flown by a Royal Air Force pilot, Flight Lieutenant Mathew Stannard. This third mission marks another milestone for the innovative air-launch technology that’s meant to support the booming satellite launch industry.

UK Space Agency officials stated that “a new domestic launch market” with spaceports and launch operators is gearing up to take the local satellite industry to an unprecedented level, as manufacturers will no longer have to ship their products overseas, in order to get them to space.

The Space Agency is currently working with Virgin Orbit for the upcoming launch from Spaceport Cornwall. This is one of the seven spaceports that will soon be operating throughout the UK. In addition to this historic satellite launch later this year, Britain is also getting ready to launch its first rocket in more than half a century.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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