By Anna Ellis • 05 October 2022 • 18:01
UK to be first country to launch satellites into orbit from Europe. Image: UK Space Agency
The first launch will take place from Spaceport Cornwall in the southwest of England and will be what is known as a ‘horizontal launch’, the UK Space Agency confirmed on Wednesday, October 5.
A specially modified Boeing 747 from Virgin Orbit called Cosmic Girl, with a rocket attached under its wing, will take off from a runway. In flight, the LauncherOne rocket will launch from the wing, taking multiple small satellites into orbit.
The plane will then return to the Spaceport, able to launch more satellites in future.
Spaceport Cornwall is situated at Newquay Airport, near the coast of Cornwall and the 747 will fly out over the sea and launch its rocket far away from populated areas.
The UK has a growing space sector, which employs 47,000 people.
UK space companies have a strong track record in satellite manufacturing, spacecraft design and data applications. In fact, Glasgow builds more satellites than anywhere outside the United States.
The UK is also located relatively far north, which means it’s perfect for launching satellites into polar and Sun-synchronous orbits, which go over the north and south poles. These orbits are ideal for satellites that monitor the Earth and provide telecommunications.
With a long coastline and many islands, the UK offers a range of suitable locations for launching rockets safely out over the sea away from settlements and people.
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Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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