Virgin Orbit wins UK’s first space launch license | Business News

The space launch will take place in the UK after Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit has been granted a license to operate.

The decision was described as a “milestone” by space regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Virgin Orbit plans to launch from Spaceport Cornwall at Newquay Cornwall Airport in the coming weeks.

A modified Boeing 747 will carry a rocket and launch from a designated location over the Atlantic Ocean.

The mission was named Start Me Up in honor of the rock group The Rolling Stones

Spaceport Cornwall is one of seven spaceports under development in the UK.

The first vertical space launch is expected next year from the planned SaxaVord spaceport in Unst, Shetland Islands.

The CAA launched a public consultation on the environmental impact of the spaceport last month.

The other four proposed spaceport locations in Scotland are: A’ Mhoine Peninsula in Sutherland; Prestwick in South Ayrshire; Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute; and North Uwes in the Outer Hebrides special.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson poses for photos aboard his new cruise ship Scarlet Lady in the port of Dover, Britain, February 21, 2020.REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Another spaceport is planned for Llanbedr in Gwynedd, North Wales.

The government hopes commercial space launches will be worth £3.8bn to the UK economy over the next decade.

read more:
Will the UK host its first rocket launch before Christmas?everything you need to know

Dan Hart, Virgin Orbit chief executive, said: “Having Virgin Orbit’s range and launch license brings us one step closer to launching our first satellite launch from UK soil.

“This is an important milestone for CAA and represents the successful completion of a huge effort that includes new regulations, new processes and the building of a new team.”

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