The first orbital launch from Western Europe could happen tonight

News Summary

  • This "Start Me Up" mission, bound for low Earth orbit, will carry satellites from seven customers in both the United States and United Kingdom.The air-launch mission has received considerable attention in the United Kingdom because it is being advertised as the first-ever orbital launch from the nation.
  • "Thorpe has been among a team working for eight years to bring a horizontal launch capability to Spaceport Cornwall, which is situated on the site of Newquay Airport, a former Royal Air Force station.
  • "I feel confident and I feel focused and I feel ready to handle whatever comes our way," Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport Cornwall, said Sunday during a news conference with reporters.
  • Spaceports capable of such launches are under construction in several locations around the nation but probably will not be ready for an orbital launch this year.
  • And unlike British launch companies that aim to use those spaceports, Virgin Orbit's technology was developed, built, and tested in the United States.This has not diminished the ardor of proponents of the horizontal-launch spaceport in Cornwall.
  • "We’re excited about the future, and coming back maybe later this year to launch again and hopefully get a rhythm going.
Enlarge/ The Above the Clouds mission launches in January 2022. 0 with 0 posters participatingAfter years of working through a thicket of regulatory matters, Virgin Orbit says it is finally rea [+3182 chars]