Queen wants to 'embrace everybody' for Jubilee says expert
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The Government announced back in May last year that the UK was preparing for a space launch for summer 2022.I t has been eyeing up a number of sites with numerous companies scrambling to win the golden ticket. Spaceport Cornwall’s site at Newquay Cornwall Airport was one of the eight spots earmarked as the potential host.
And now, CEO Melissa Thorpe has told Express.co.uk they are “ahead” in the race to seal the deal.
She said: “We are the only spaceport that has our application in for a spaceport licence at the moment which is the last piece of the puzzle that we need to launch.
“Our infrastructure is ready to go, Virgin Orbit is ready to go, we are just waiting for the licenses to come through.
“We are planning to launch this summer and it will be a tribute to the UK space industry as well as the Queen’s Jubilee.
“We are just the first mover and that is just because we are already an operational airport and we are not having to create this from scratch, hence why we are ahead.”
The spaceport hopes to provide the runway for a satellite to be blasted into low-Earth orbit using Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne in what is known as a horizontal launch.
Richard Branson’s company can shoot satellites into the cosmos via a rocket carried under the wing of a modified Boeing jet
Virgin Orbit successfully tested the technology over the Pacific Ocean, but it has never been used in the UK.
Ms Thorpe believes the groundbreaking technology can help bring launch capabilities back to the UK.
She added: “Our ambitions are to prove that the UK can launch to space.
“To be that first sovereign launch this summer is number one on our list.”
Britain has never launched a rocket into orbit from its own soil.
Back in the Sixties, the UK built the Black Arrow rocket, which was launched from Australia in 1971.
Ms Thorpe believes Virgin Orbit is the perfect partner to delight the Queen and power Britain back into space.
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She added: “Virgin Orbit are definitely the leaders in horizontal launch.
“They have a very unique business model in that they are a mobile launch platform.
“With pretty much all other launch operators, the satellites have to come to them, whereas Virgin Orbit comes to their customer base.
“It is almost like a red carpet service for space.”
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