Historic UK Rocket Mission - First Rocket Set For Liftoff In Cornwall
The United Kingdom will soon host a historic first rocket set for liftoff in Cornwall that has the potential to make it a rocket launch hub. As far as we know, this will be the first time a rocket has ever been launched from the United Kingdom, and it will also be the first time satellites have been launched from Europe.
On Monday night, Cornwall Airport, located not far from Newquay, will be the launch site for many satellites. As part of the Start Me Up mission, a launch is scheduled for Spaceport Cornwall, if everything goes according to plan.
The first possible launch time for the historic mission is Monday at 10:16 p.m. UK time, with many more options stretching into the middle and latter parts of January.
747 Jumbo Jet Will Release A Rocket
Over the Atlantic Ocean, a converted Boeing 747 will fire a rocket carrying nine satellites into orbit. The mission will get underway on Monday night, around 2100 GMT, at Newquay Airport in Cornwall. If successful, this will be a watershed moment for the United Kingdom's space program, signaling the beginning of the nation's own launch business.
COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/first-rocket-set-for-liftoff-in-cornwall/ by Rhyley Carney on 2023-01-10T02:20:33.858Z
What we've seen over the last eight years is this building of excitement towards something very aspirational and different for Cornwall, something that started off as a project that not a lot of people really believed was ever going to happen.
- Melissa Thorpe, Spaceport Cornwall
What I think people have seen here in Cornwall is a small team that lives and breathes this county deliver something quite incredible.
- Melissa Thorpe, Spaceport Cornwall
Though this isn't the first British satellite to reach orbit, it is the first to launch from British land. The United Kingdom's first satellite, Ariel 1, was launched on a United States rocket from Cape Canaveral in 1962; in 1971, Australia's Prospero satellite was launched on a rocket developed in Australia.
First Orbital Launch From UK Territory
The American corporation Virgin Space, established by Sir Richard Branson, is being used for its first launch into orbit from British soil. The British businessman had one of his decommissioned passenger planes retrofitted with a rocket he named LauncherOne, which would be carried beneath the plane's left wing.
The 747 will take off from Newquay and fly west over the Atlantic to an official takeoff zone between the Irish counties of Kerry and Cork. The rocket will be released from the Virgin plane at a height of 35,000 feet, and after it starts its ascent to orbit, the first stage of the rocket's engine will be ignited.
Cosmic Girl, a Boeing 747, will be used by Virgin Orbit for its missions into orbit. Lightening the load so that the LauncherOne rocket can be transported beneath the left wing, this jumbo aircraft has been stripped of any extraneous attachments.
At launches, the rocket is transported to a height of around 11,000 meters, during which time it is released into the Atlantic Ocean south of Ireland. When everything is in place, the aircraft will lift up and release the rocket, which will then be ignited after a delay of four seconds.
The first phase of LauncherOne will propel the rocket to a speed of around 360 meters per second, or that of a rapidly moving bullet. It will then detach, allowing the second stage of the rocket to propel it into orbit and release the satellites.
After four successful launches over the Pacific Ocean in the United States, the launching procedure was fine-tuned in preparation for the launch of 33 satellites. After receiving its permits from the UK Space Agency in December, Virgin Orbit will launch seven satellites as part of the first ever 'Start Me Up' mission from Spaceport Cornwall.
First ever orbital UK space mission to launch from Cornwall
Beginning Of The UK Future Strategy For Space
If everything goes well with the launch, nine miniature satellites will be sent into an orbit more than 500 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. They may be used for a wide variety of purposes, from oceanography to navigation, and are therefore of interest to both the military and the civilian sectors.
Cardiff-based firm Space Forge owns one of the shoebox-sized satellites. The company's long-term goal is to build satellite factories capable of producing advanced, high-value materials and components.
For the first time, the UK has all the pieces of the jigsaw to be able to design and develop satellites, launch them from the UK and operate them from the UK.
- Josh Western, CEO of Space Forge
Long Beach, California's Virgin Orbit has launched four rockets successfully into space over the Pacific Ocean. Mojave Air and Space Port, located north of Los Angeles, was the departure point for the missions.
Its mission control for the United Kingdom expedition has been relocated to Cornwall. According to Launch Director Deenah Sanchez, it will be a difficult task.
Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit, remarked that his staff would handle the UK voyage not much differently than they would handle a flight to the United States, other than the availability of Cornish pasties.
[It's] a little different weather than Mojave, but otherwise the team is turning the wrenches in the same way
- Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit
There is a lot riding on this rocket, since its mission marks the beginning of the United Kingdom's future space policy. Scottish businesses Skyrora and Orbex are in the forefront of developing vertical launch systems, or rockets that rise vertically from the ground, to keep up with the expanding satellite industry.
Possible as early as the end of 2023, these vehicles will begin service out of Shetland and Sutherland in the country's far north.