The first orbital space launch from the UK is due to take off

LONDON — Western Europe’s first orbital rocket launch will take place in the United Kingdom on Monday night.

The modified Boeing 747 aircraft, named ‘Cosmic Girl’, will take off from Spaceport Cornwall in south west England at 22:16 local time conditions permitting, but backup launch dates are also scheduled for later this month.

At approximately 35,000 feet, the pristine orbit The rocket will deploy over the Atlantic, carrying nine small satellites into orbit in what is called a horizontal launch.

Among the technologies sent into space as part of the commercial launch are the first Oman-launched satellite focused on Earth observation, and the first satellite designed and built in Wales, as well as satellites from various UK and US government departments. .

Launching rockets from British soil allows the country to “be more media responsible” [it’s] putting products into space,” Melissa Thorpe, director of Spaceport Cornwall, told the BBC’s “Today” program on Monday.

Crowds are expected to gather to watch the event, with Spaceport Cornwall inviting the general public to witness what it described as a “historic moment”. The designated launch event will also include a “silent disco” tent.

Virgin Orbit had cut its forecast for 2022 launches to three, after initially planning to do between four and six earlier in the year.

Announcing its third-quarter 2022 results in November, Virgin Orbit also said it had raised $25 million to boost its depleting cash reserve. The money came from the Virgin Group, the broader conglomerate owned by British billionaire Richard Branson, which also includes the Virgin Atlantic airline, the Virgin Active gym group and the financial services company. blank silver.

Virgin Orbit shares hit a three-week high on Friday, trading at $2.11.

—CNBC’s Michael Sheetz contributed to this article.

Dennis Alvarado

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