Virgin Orbit’s recycled Boeing 747 aircraft which serves as a reusable launch pad and mobile mission control center landed at Newquay Airport in Cornwall, England on October 11 after flying from the Air and Space Port of Mojave.
The carrier aircraft, known as Cosmic Girl, landed with RAFSpace Command Sqdn. Dr. Matthew “Stanny” Stannard, who will pilot the craft on Virgin Orbit’s upcoming Start Me Up mission.
The launch of the Start Me Up mission is scheduled for November.
Start Me Up is led by a joint mission between the US and UK governments, launched by Virgin Orbit, the UK Space Agency, UK Space Command and Spaceport Cornwall.
“What an incredible honor it is for us to be part of something so monumental as bringing Britain into the launch business,” said Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit. “Together with our partners in the UK government, we are starting a new capability that will serve the people, economy and security of the UK.”
Start Me Up will be a launch of many firsts: the first orbital launch from the UK; the first international launch from Virgin Orbit and the first commercial launch from Western Europe.
“As we get closer and closer to the first satellite launch from UK soil, it is great to see the progress made by Virgin Orbit, Spaceport Cornwall and those across government in delivering this historic mission, the first of its kind in Europe,” Nusrat said. Ghani, British Science Minister.