Spaceport Cornwall Schedules the First Satellites Launch for Spring 2022

1st Feb 2021
Spaceport Cornwall

Spaceport Cornwall has announced that it targets spring 2022 for the maiden satellite launch from the Newquay-based facility. The spaceport will use a horizontal launch platform and specially modified airplanes to send small satellites into a low Earth orbit. For its first launch, the spaceport will be using a Virgin Orbit craft of a similar type that has been successfully employed in launches from the California facility in January this year.

Spaceport Cornwall Waits on New Legislation

The Virgin Orbit craft will carry a payload of LauncherOne rockets, with boosters that engage when launched in the upper atmosphere to carry the satellites into a low Earth orbit. Spaceport Cornwall had its first satellite launch scheduled for October 2021, however delays brought about by the coronavirus pandemic forced the project to defer the deadline.

Furthermore, much of the licensing required to undertake such a launch still needs to be formalised by Parliament as a broader consequence of the UK’s departure from the EU. Regulations that were previously in place now need to be revised, along with a wide range of other industrial licensing across the country.

Cornwall Spaceport Opens Doors to Further Partnerships to Launch Satellites 

In the meantime, Spaceport Cornwall is hoping to attract other ventures looking for a satellite launch from the United Kingdom. In a statement, the head of Cornwall Spaceport, Melissa Thorpe, announced her company’s excitement to be getting behind the new technology. She also emphasized that the development of the spaceport would help to bring investment into the local community in the form of jobs and funding to attract other businesses to the area in the future. She went on to describe the projects in motion as “world-class.” She stated that Spaceport Cornwall could prove a key factor in helping to rebuild the local Newquay economy in the wake of the financial hardship brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to Spaceport Cornwall, locals can look forward to increased investment in the area and an influx of space technology funding from around the world. Especially if more satellites launch in the future after the first project proves successful. 

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