Air Freight News

Virgin Orbit says way clear for first UK space launch

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. said it’s on course for Britain’s first-ever space launch as final preparations for the mission proceed as planned following earlier delays.

The takeoff of a modified Boeing Co. 747 jetliner with a rocket under its wing from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, England, is planned between 9:40 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday, the company said in a briefing.

While Virgin Orbit has set out a number of possible dates for the mission over the next two weeks, launch plans are very much “geared toward and focused on the beginning of the window,” Chief Executive Officer Dan Hart said Sunday at the space center in southwest England.

“Right now everything is green,” Hart said. “The rocket was armed yesterday and we’ll be loading fuel later today. We’re in full motion right now. That said, we’re going to proceed cautiously on this flight. We’re in different airspace than we’ve flown before.”

Virgin Orbit, which normally operates from the Mojave Desert, put plans for a pre-Christmas UK launch on hold amid last-minute snags, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said Dec. 8.

Since then, the company has completed a vital “wet rehearsal” in which the LauncherOne rocket was loaded with fuel and a test countdown carried out.

As the 747, named Cosmic Girl, is a robust aircraft and will climb above the clouds before the rocket blasts away, surface conditions aren’t as big a concern as in traditional launches, though the weather is being monitored for crosswinds and potential lightning strikes, Hart said.

The mission from Cornwall will deploy nine satellites for a range of customers. Hart said that Long Beach-based Virgin Orbit would like to launch again from the spaceport before the end of this year if possible, with work underway on putting together the next payload, aided by the UK Space Agency.

Bloomberg
Bloomberg

{afn_job_title}

© Bloomberg
The author’s opinion are not necessarily the opinions of the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT).

Similar Stories

United Airlines joins American, JetBlue to raise checked bag fees

United Airlines Holdings Inc. became the latest US carrier to increase fees for checked bags as the industry faces inflationary pressures for labor and other rising expenses.

View Article
https://www.ajot.com/images/uploads/article/Air-Cargo_Plane.jpg
Air cargo set for another challenging year
View Article
https://www.ajot.com/images/uploads/article/Boeing-777-jet.jpg
A decade after MH370, planes still at risk of vanishing off the map
View Article
https://www.ajot.com/images/uploads/article/Shipping_Software.jpg
Cathay Cargo: API connection for DB Schenker agents to book and confirm Cathay Cargo’s inventory
View Article
https://www.ajot.com/images/uploads/article/787_United_Airlines.jpg
United announces daily non-stop flights between Guam and Tokyo-Haneda
View Article
Thai Air earnings jump as travel boom boosts ticket sales

Thai Airways International Pcl’s full-year earnings jumped as booming air travel demand boosted ticket sales.

View Article