Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl which is set to transport satellites to the Earth’s orbit from Cornwall celebrates a successful test flight. The modified 747-400 which had a 70ft rocket under its wing flew over southern California this week.
A partnership agreement was signed by the owners of Virgin Orbit (Richard Branson’s company) and Cornwall Airport Newquay (Cornwall Council) at the beginning of summer. This partnership was made to achieve the goal of the UK launching her first satellite in the country by 2020, a goal set by the government.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, has received red flags from Cornish business leaders and politicians concerning the inadequate laws and funding of the UK’s space industry.
In Westminster a conference for MPs and ministers was held this week, which was organised by St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double, the Duchy’s space industry aspirations stole the limelight.
Cornwall Airport Newquay is set to have a horizontal launch spaceport–this development was supported by Mr. Double.
The Aviation Minister (Liz Sugg), Cornwall Council, MPs, space industry leaders, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly local enterprise partnership (LEP) and Mr. Graylin were present at the conference held in London.
Statements made individually by the LEP chairman, Mr. Double, and Adam Paynter (leader of Cornwall Council) in support of the project stress the importance of passing Space Industry Bills which positively affect commercial space flight from the UK.
The Spacecraft, Cosmic Girl, is set to carry Launcher One rocket and release it at 35,000ft over the Atlantic and then carry satellites into the Earth’s orbit, by December 2020 from a spaceport at Newquay.
The project is estimated to create 150 jobs with £200 million profit to the UK and £1 billion to the space economy by 2030. It will possibly distribute internet access to rural regions or monitor the weather.
In a statement by Richard Branson, he revealed that the outcome of the launch was encouraging but there are many issues to be solved.