The first-ever orbital space launch from the UK will take off on Monday


The modified Boeing 747 aircraft, dubbed “Cosmic Girl”, will take off from Spaceport Cornwall in south west England.

Hugh Hastings/Stringer/Getty Images

LONDON — The first orbital rocket launch in Western Europe will take place in the UK on Monday evening.

The modified Boeing 747 aircraft, dubbed “Cosmic Girl”, will take off from Spaceport Cornwall in southwest England at 10.16pm local time if conditions allow, but back-up launch dates are also planned for later this month.

At about 35,000 feet, the virgin job rocket will be deployed over the Atlantic Ocean, carrying nine small satellites into orbit in what’s known as a horizontal launch.

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

Launching missiles from British soil will allow the country to “be more responsible with the roads”. [it’s] putting products into space,” Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport Cornwall, told the BBC show “Today” on Monday.

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

Virgin Orbit had lowered its forecast for 2022 launches to three, while initially expecting it to be between four and six earlier this year.

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

Shares of Virgin Orbit hit a three-week high Friday, trading at $2.11.

—Michael Sheetz of CNBC contributed to this article.

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