HomeSpace FlightAll systems go for Virgin Orbit's first UK launch, a historic 1st...

All systems go for Virgin Orbit’s first UK launch, a historic 1st for Europe

NEWQUAY, U.K. — A giant leap for the U.K. space sector is set to take place tonight, Monday (Jan. 9), as Virgin Orbit readies for its first-ever launch from Britain, and from Europe. 

The launch, which could still be hampered by bad weather or technical glitches, will be Virgin Orbit’s first from a location other than the company’s U.S. homebase in California’s Mojave Desert. It will also be the first-ever orbital launch from the U.K., although the country previously launched a satellite into orbit atop a homegrown rocket from Australia in the early 1970s. The new mission, called “Start Me Up,” after a song by legendary British band the Rolling Stones, will see Virgin Orbit’s converted Boeing 747-400 airplane Cosmic Girl take off from an airport in Newquay, a popular tourist town on the picturesque Atlantic Coast of the Cornwall region in southwest England. 

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