Date confirmed for first orbital launch from UK soil

On Monday, a historic rocket launch from the UK’s southwest coast will launch satellites into space.

The LauncherOne system will be launched into the sky from Spaceport Cornwall at 10.16 p.m., opening the first window for the Start Me Up mission if the weather cooperates.

A payload of satellites, including a working prototype of an orbiting factory for the production of high-value alloys and semiconductors, will accompany it as it is tucked away beneath the wing of a repurposed Boeing 747 that will be called “Cosmic Girl.”

After technical issues delayed it from its pre-Christmas target, a launch date for the first orbital launch from UK soil or anywhere in western Europe has been announced.

However, the Monday night time slot was confirmed by the organizers following the successful Thursday rehearsal.

Backup dates have been scheduled for later in the week in case of bad weather or other issues occurring between now and the launch window.

The launch date, according to Spaceport Cornwall director Melissa Thorpe, would “transform access to space across the world.”

The Civil Aviation Authority granted the first spaceport license for the UK in November, which marked the beginning of a flurry of preparations for the launch at the end of last year.

The launch operator, Virgin Orbit, received its own licenses the following month.

Each of the carried satellites, including the so-called Dover Pathfinder, designed in the UK by engineering firm RHEATECH, received licenses this week.

The nation’s defense and critical national infrastructure, such as power grids and communications networks, will be protected from hostile threats by a constellation of satellites, and Pathfinder is the first step in this process.

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