First British space flight on January 9

In a few days, the first orbital space­flight to take off from main­land Britain could take off from Space­port Cornwell.

Vir­gin Orbit has announced that the his­toric mis­sion “Start Me Up” will open its ini­tial win­dow on Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 9th at 22:16 UTC (17:15 ET).

In the unlike­ly event that the launch is delayed due to tech­ni­cal issues or bad weath­er, we will sched­ule an alter­na­tive date lat­er this month.

The Civ­il Avi­a­tion Author­i­ty (CAA) approved the autho­riza­tion nec­es­sary for Vir­gin Orbit to con­duct launch activ­i­ties in the UK in Decem­ber, fol­low­ing the first launch autho­riza­tion at Space­port Cornwall.

Vir­gin Orbit is work­ing with the British Space Agency (UKSA), Corn­wall Coun­cil and the Roy­al Air Force on this mission.

Giv­en that Start Me Up is Vir­gin Orbit’s first inter­na­tion­al launch and its first com­mer­cial launch from West­ern Europe, a “first” in sev­er­al respects, the pri­vate space com­pa­ny , which has stat­ed that it will “main­tain a con­ser­v­a­tive stance with respect to sys­tem health, weath­er and all oth­er sched­ul­ing factors.”

Because of this, unless Vir­gin Orbit does well on Mon­day, there’s a good chance it will be delayed.

Still, the orbital rock­et LauncherOne used for this mis­sion is already attached to the first-stage launch pad, a Boe­ing 747. It did this by ship­ping LauncherOne, man­u­fac­tured in Long Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, to the UK.

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