Virgin Orbit Plans to Proceed with UK Launch from Cornwall spaceport

22nd Jun 2020
Spaceport Cornwall

The British Government, along with Virgin Orbit, plans to start flights from the company’s air-launch system by 2020 using an English airport. These developments were announced by Virgin Orbit, the UK Space Agency, and Spaceport Cornwall on July 4th at an online suppliers’ conference. They plan to operate from the southwestern England spaceport called the Cornwall Airport Newquay using LauncherOne, a rocket, and a modified Boeing 747 Carrier aircraft. 

<h2> LauncherOne development history with Virgin Orbit <h2>

Among the main reasons for this suppliers’ meeting was to discuss how Virgin Orbit was going to obtain the launch infrastructure. Virgin Orbit will request proposals from suppliers for a transportable ground operations system (TGOS), generators, tanks, and other systems that will be required to power up and prepare LauncherOne. 

The Cornwall Council has funded the airport’s infrastructure improvements and partnered with the UK Space Agency and Virgin Orbit. The development of LauncherOne develops even after an engine malfunction made it fail to reach orbit on May 25th. After reviewing the data and learning what went wrong, Derrick Boston, CEO of Virgin Orbit, believes that the next launch will be successful. The launch will also require a change in UK legislation, with Ian Annet, deputy chief of the UK Space Agency, admitting that discussions are ongoing among various government bodies to facilitate it.

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