Virgin Orbit is ready to launch from Cornwall Spaceport this Summer20th May 2022
Virgin Orbit’s first launch from Cornwall Spaceport, scheduled for summer 2022, will carry a reconnaissance satellite to track illegal activity at sea. Amber-1 CubeSat will monitor ships from space to prevent smuggling, piracy and illegal fishing.
Cornwall Spaceport Launch Specifics
Cornwall Spaceport is a horizontal launch site, while Virgin Orbit is the first private company to make air-launch commercially viable. The operator has already proven its technology, using a modified Boeing-747 plane to lift the rocket into the air and release it from under the carrier’s wing at an altitude.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket is 21 metres high and can carry up to 500kg of payload into orbit. The system flies under N744VG registration and is ready to make the first launch from Cornwall Spaceport this summer. Besides deploying an Earth observation satellite, Virgin Orbit plans to demonstrate how local launch capability can benefit the UK space sector. According to the UK government reports, the industry produced £16.5 billion in 2019-2020 and commissioning local launch sites, Cornwall spaceport included, should increase this figure even further.
Virgin Orbit on Upcoming Launch
According to Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart, the company is looking forward to the upcoming historic event. Not only should the launch become one of the first rocket lift-offs from UK soil, but it should also contribute its share to keeping the seas safe. Hart adds that the technology developed by The Catapult and Horizon is crucial for tracking shipping across the seas using radio and Wi-Fi signals.
Hart states that the LauncherOne system offers an affordable way to launch small satellites into calculated orbits, which is very promising for the growing UK space sector. According to Virgin Orbit CEO, collaboration with satellite makers and Cornwall Spaceport will eventually benefit UK’s domestic launch capability.