Virgin Orbit: UK one step closer to spaceflight


The UK is one step closer to launching its first satellite launch from its shores.

Regulator Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Wednesday it had granted Virgin Orbit final permission to carry out the launch.

Virgin Orbit, the US subsidiary of Richard Branson Virgin Group plans to use a modified Boeing 747 jet to launch a rocket called Cosmic Girl into space. The rocket will launch over the Atlantic Ocean and will carry nine satellites into orbit.

The company has already flown four successful satellite launches from California this way.

According to the government, the development puts the UK on track to become the first country in Europe to offer commercial launch services to small satellite manufacturers.

The U.K. has been working on building a commercial spaceport for years in a bid to capture a bigger share of the fast-growing space market, which Morgan Stanley estimates could be worth more than $1 trillion by 2040.

British Transport Secretary Mark Harper said in a statement on Wednesday: “Today, we are one step closer to opening the UK’s galactic gateway, with Virgin Orbit being granted a historic first license to allow UK-ever The first spaceflight launch.”

The satellite launch is expected to take place early next year from Spaceport Cornwall, a spaceport on the southwest coast of England.

Virgin Orbit chief executive Dan Hart said in a statement the company “is making progress towards a first launch from Cornwall – with a focus on delivering a safe and successful mission for all.”

The country’s growing £16.5 billion ($14 billion) space industry will support some 47,000 jobs, the government estimates.

The CAA said it granted Virgin Orbit its final remaining license after meeting all necessary safety, security and environmental tests.

Source link