On Monday night, the United Kingdom (UK) and Western Union will host UK’s first orbital space launch (rocket launch).
The modified Boeing 747 plane, called “Cosmic Girl,” will take off from Spaceport Cornwall in southwest England at 10:16 p.m. local time if the weather is good. Later this month, there are also plans for backup launch dates.
The horizontal launch of the Virgin Orbit rocket will take place at an altitude of about 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, with the rocket carrying nine tiny satellites into orbit.
According to Open Cosmos CEO Rafel Siquier, this strategy is more cost-effective than vertical take-offs. It shows that the UK can be more nimble in space than the US, the worldwide leader.
The LauncherOne rocket will transport nine satellites into orbit, one of which being Open Cosmos’ DOVER Pathfinder spacecraft. This prototype will serve the purpose of showcasing advanced navigation features.
As part of the commercial launch, other technologies are being sent into space. These include the first satellite to be launched by Oman, which will observe the Earth. The first Welsh-designed and manufactured satellite will launch alongside government satellites. It’s mainly in the UK and the US.
Melissa Thorpe, director of Spaceport Cornwall, said launching rockets from British soil helps the UK to “be more responsible.”
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More To Know About the UK’s first orbital space launch
Spaceport Cornwall has encouraged the public to come and see what they are calling a “historic moment.” Besides, there is an expectation that a huge crowd will attend to observe the event. There will be a “silent disco” tent at the official launch event.
Virgin Orbit reduced its 2022 launch prediction from four to six to three.
It announced in November that it had raised $25 million to refill its cash reserves. Virgin Group, founded by British businessman Richard Branson, provided the finance.
On Friday, Virgin Orbit stock reached a three-week high of $2.11.