Virgin Orbit rocket arrives in Cornwall for first space launch from UK

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And these out-of-this-world images show the effort it took to transport the 70-foot-long shuttle from California to Cornwall ahead of take-off next month.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne landed at Newquay Airport on Friday evening, having set off from California in a C-17 military aircraft the day before.

This was no easy feat, and it took the help of the Royal Air Force (RAF) to ensure the mission was completed efficiently and safely.

The rocket, owned by Sir Richard Branson, will carry seven payloads into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), as well as a number of satellites.

The Start Me Up mission, named in tribute to the iconic British Band, the Rolling Stones, is set to be a historic occasion with a number of firsts.

It will be the first-ever orbital launch from the UK, Virgin Orbit’s first international launch and the first commercial launch from Western Europe.

The aircraft carrying LauncherOne, Cosmic Girl, will take the impressive rocket to an altitude of approximately 35,000 ft before deploying it.

Ground support equipment is already in place and the majority of payloads have been integrated.

Melissa Thorpe, head of SpacePort Cornwall, said: “It’s been an incredible week at Spaceport Cornwall, and the arrival of LauncherOne is the cherry on top.

“Seeing the infrastructure in place makes our launch ambitions a reality.

“We cannot wait to see the rocket take to the skies soon, carrying Earth-benefitting satellite technology into Low Earth Orbit.”

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