UK space launch

UK space launch The first-ever launch into orbit from British soil is about to happen.

On Monday, a repurposed 747 jumbo jet will fire a rocket over the Atlantic to launch nine satellites into space.

The operation starts at Newquay Airport in Cornwall, England, just before midnight GMT.

If it works, it will be a big step forward for UK space and the start of a launch industry in the UK.

Melissa Thorpe, who runs Spaceport Cornwall, said, “Over the last eight years, we’ve seen excitement grow for something very ambitious and different for Cornwall, something that started out as a project that not many people really thought would ever happen.”

“I think what people have seen here in Cornwall is a small group of people who live and work in this county putting together something really amazing.”

Sir Richard Branson started the American company Virgin Orbit, which is being used for this first attempt to launch something into orbit from the UK.

One of the British businessman’s old passenger planes has been changed so that it can carry a rocket called LauncherOne under its left wing.

When the 747 leaves Newquay, it will head west over the Atlantic to a designated launch zone just off the coast of the Irish counties of Kerry and Cork.

At the right time and at a height of 35,000 feet, the Virgin jet will let go of the rocket. The rocket will then fire up its first-stage engine to start the climb to orbit.

The BBC had a rare chance to take a look inside Cosmic Girl, the carrier plane for Virgin Orbit.

Everything has been taken off the lower deck to save weight since a fully fueled rocket is a heavy load.

Two flight engineers will watch the launch from consoles on the second floor. The cockpit, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much, except for a small red button that, when pressed, lets the rocket go.

Mathew “Stanny” Stannard, who is a squadron leader in the RAF, is working for Virgin Orbit on a temporary basis. He will be the lead pilot and sit in the left seat.

“We’ll keep an eye on the rocket to make sure it stays healthy the whole time,” he said.

“Then we do something called a “terminal count procedure.” That’s when things start to get more interesting for us as we pressurise the tank and cool the lines one after the other.

“And when the terminal count is over, it’s my job to make sure the plane is in the right spot in the sky so that when the rocket says, “I’m ready to go,” she can take off.

So far, Virgin Orbit, which is based in Long Beach, California, has launched rockets over the Pacific Ocean four times in a row without any problems. The flights took off from Mojave Air and Space Port, which is north of Los Angeles.

In order to set up a new mission control for the UK mission, the team has moved to Cornwall.

Deenah Sanchez, who is in charge of the launch, says it will be a complicated process.

She told BBC News, “We have three different launch systems out there.”

“We have our ground equipment, an entire plane, and a rocket, so here in the control room we have people who are experts in each area.”

Dan Hart, the CEO of Virgin Orbit, made a joke that, other than the food (Cornish pasties vs. American hamburgers), there wasn’t much difference between how his team would work for the UK flight and how they would work for the US flight. “The weather is a little different than in Mojave, but the team is working the same way,” he said.

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