History will be made in Cornwall tonight (January 9) with the launch of the Virgin Orbit ‘Cosmic Girl’ satellite launch into space.
Eyes from around the world will be fixed on the events at Cornwall Airport Newquay, home to Spaceport Cornwall, which is set to culminate in the first launch of a satellite into space from Europe.
The event comes amid a warning from police about using drones in the area, and tickets to watch the space launch are sold-out.
Those lucky enough to get a ticket for the event will be located in a designated open-air area, complete with refreshments, a marquee with exhibits, a silent disco tent and other facilities including a big screen to watch the event.
Roads surrounding the airport will be closed from 9pm this evening until midnight.
However, those not able to attend the event in-person will not be left out of watching the moment of history as it will be available to view online.
The event is available to watch live on the Virgin Orbit Youtube channel from 9pm tonight, viewable here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Co18HcyqH
In the event that a problem, such as weather or a technical problem prevents the launch from taking place, there are a number of backup days where the event might take place. These are January 13, 15, 18, 19 and 20.
Timings for the Virgin Orbit Cosmic Girl launch from Spaceport Cornwall:
9pm: The ‘Start Me Up’ live stream on the Virgin Orbit Youtube Channel begins broadcasting. Nearby roads are closed and pre-launch preparations begin.
10:16pm: The launch window for the converted Boeing 747 aeroplane begins. The entire launch phase is set to last around ten minutes.
What will happen during the event?
Unlike most traditional rockets which launch vertically, the Cosmic Girl launch of a rocket containing satellites is vertical. When it reaches 35,000 feet altitude just off the coast of Ireland, the pilot will activate the button which will launch the rocket over the Atlantic.
The rocket will then free-fall for four seconds before ignition and will head south past Portugal as it makes its ascent.
The moment the ‘LauncherOne’ rocket reaches low-earth orbit, the satellite payload on board will release, while the jet, which will be flown by RAF Squadron leader Matthew Stannard will return to Cornwall Newquay airport.