Ready for blast off on an historic day for Cornwall

Virgin Orbit's Cosmic Girl

The leader of the council has welcomed an historic day for Cornwall as the launch of the first satellite from UK soil is due to take place from Newquay this evening.

Virgin Orbit’s ‘Cosmic Girl’, a repurposed jumbo jet, will take off from the airport after 10pm tonight providing weather conditions and-last minute technical checks allow.

The jet will then release ‘Launcher One’ over the Atlantic Ocean, which will deliver seven payloads into low-earth orbit, including satellites aimed at helping reduce the environmental impact of production, preventing illegal trafficking, smuggling, and terrorism; and a host of national security functions.

Cllr Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “It is wonderful to see us reach the culmination of so many years of hard work on this, a truly historic day for Cornwall and the UK.

“Cornwall Airport Newquay has already become the first location in the country to be awarded a Spaceport licence, and now we will see that dream become a reality when these satellites are launched.

“It is vital for Cornwall that we are in a position to take advantage of all the opportunities that new technology affords, and this is a clear demonstration of our ambition to be at the forefront of the global space industry.”

The Spaceport will act as a hub for innovation in Cornwall going forwards, with work already underway to bring new businesses into the site, ensuring Cornwall can compete for a share of the global small satellite market, estimated to be worth £3.9 billion a year by 2030.

Cllr Louis Gardner, the council’s portfolio holder for economy, said: “It gives me so much pleasure to see Cornwall in the spotlight on a global stage for such positive reasons, and to see us reach this milestone.

“I have to thank everyone who has worked on this project, especially our partners at the UK Space Agency and Virgin Orbit for their dedication and commitment along the way.

“This is great news for Cornwall, and will have a long-lasting positive impact on our economy.”

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