Cornwall Spaceport is one of two proposed horizontal rocket launch sites in the UK, based in Newquay Airport in the South of England.
The proposed launch site will be home to Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, which will launch small satellites from a rocket strapped to the wing of a customised Boeing 747.
The Boeing 747, named Cosmic Girl, will take off from Newquay Airport with Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket onboard, where it will travel to 20,000 ft and then release the rocket, which will then ignite its engines for its onward journey into space.
The Cornwall Spaceport has received funding from the UK Space Agency as well as from Cornwall Council for the ambitious project.
Not everybody has been excited about the prospects of the Spaceport at Cornwall. There have been a number of objections, as the project attracted a large protest by the environmental group, Extinction Rebellion, during a Cornwall Council’s funding meeting where the funding was discussed.
The Cornwall Spaceport has also drawn criticism from local Green councillors who would prefer to see the funds used to fulfil the local council’s promises on tackling the climate emergency.
There have been some suggestions that the Spaceport would be used to transport tourists into space as part of Virgin Orbit’s long-term goal of entering the space tourism business, although there has been no official announcement on this.