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  • Updated: January 06, 2023

First-Ever UK Space Mission Scheduled For January 9

First-Ever UK Space Mission Scheduled For January 9

The first orbital space launch from UK soil could happen in a few days from Spaceport Cornwell.

According to Virgin Orbit, the historic "Start Me Up" mission's first window will open on Monday, January 9, 2023, at 22:16 UTC (5:15 PM Eastern Time).

The corporation has alternate launch dates scheduled throughout the month if the original date needs to be postponed because of a technical malfunction or bad weather.

Virgin Orbit's licences need to conduct launch operations in the UK were issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in December after it had already authorised the first launch licence for Spaceport Cornwall.

For this project, Virgin Orbit is collaborating with Cornwall Council, the Royal Air Force, the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA), and others.

The private space corporation said it will "maintain a conservative posture with regard to system health, weather, and all other elements of scheduling" because Start Me Up is the "first" in a number of ways, including the first international launch for Virgin Orbit and the first commercial launch from western Europe.

Suppose nothing works out for Virgin Orbit on Monday, the likelihood of a delay increases. Nevertheless, the Boeing 747 that will act as the first stage launch platform for this mission, Cosmic Girl, is currently equipped with the LauncherOne orbital launch vehicle that will be employed for the flight.

LauncherOne, which was made in Long Beach, California, had to be shipped to the UK by the firm in order for the journey to be made.

The mission will not only break new ground but also launch seven commercial and government satellites into orbit.

Its payload consists of two CubeSats for the UK Ministry of Defense's Prometheus-2 project and CIRCE (Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment), a cooperative venture between the UK Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and the US Naval Research Laboratory.

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