Where To Watch The UK’s First Rocket Launch

9th Jan 2023
Where To Watch The UK’s First Rocket Launch

The time has finally come for the UK’s first rocket launch from Spaceport Cornwall. A historical moment, which can be witnessed across the UK and also in Ireland, as well as parts of Spain, Portugal, and France.

After all of the necessary permits were granted, it was confirmed that LauncherOne would blast off into space on Monday, 9 January. 

The launch window opens at 10.16 pm

The launch window opens just after 10 pm on Monday evening. Virgin Orbit, the launch operator, has released maps so that space enthusiasts around the country don’t miss out on witnessing this historical moment. 

On the map, blue circles are used to depict the path of the 21 m rocket, from the moment it is released from Cosmic Girl. There are then circles on the line, which show its estimated location at every minute along the way.

Image taken from Virgin Orbit

The rocket will be most visible immediately after launch, with Virgin Orbit estimating that those in Ireland and the UK should be able to see LauncherOne within one minute of it being ignited. 

After two to three minutes have passed, those in the coastal areas of Spain, Portugal, and France should be able to see the rocket. 

It’s estimated that the complete launch phase will last around 10 minutes.

Don’t expect a NASA-style spectacle 

If you’re expecting to see a classic NASA-style launch, with a massive rocket launching into the atmosphere vertically, think again. 

Cosmic Girl is actually an old Boeing 747. Therefore, the view from Spaceport Cornwall won’t be too different from a plane taking off on a nighttime flight. 

However, unlike any commercial airline you fly on for your summer holidays, LauncherOne is located under the left wing. LauncherOne will be released across the Atlantic Ocean, at 35,000 ft. It will then accelerate to 8,000 mph so that it can carry out its mission to place seven satellites in orbit. If conditions are suitable in your area, you should be able to see LauncherOne’s rockets firing.

Alternatively, you can also watch LauncherOne’s inaugural launch from the UK on Virgin Orbit’s Youtube channel.

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