The Civil Aviation Authority has given the green light for Spaceport Cornwall Newquay site to send satellites into space.
The UK’s first space mission being launched from Newquay in Cornwall has been made a reality with the first launch expected to take place by the end of the year.
Whilst concern due to the the time it was taking for the CAA to issue the licensee but earlier this month the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that the site in Newquay can be operational for sending satellites into space.
A totally refurbished Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft named Cosmic Girl, fitted will be fitted with a rocket that will propel up to nine satellites into the earth’s orbit, the 747 was designed and refurbished at spaceport Cornwall in time for the go-ahead.
When it gets its launch date – and a suitable weather conditions – the plan is that Cosmic Girl will take off from the spaceport Newquay and soar to 35,000ft (10,700 meters) over the Atlantic it will then release the”LauncherOne” rocket that will send nine satellites into the earths orbit.
The CAA was satisfied that the site based at Newquay Airport, had demonstrated to the CAA it had met the appropriate safety, security, environmental requirements for horizontal space launches.
The transport secretary, Mark Harper, said: “Virgin Orbit’s planned launch reinforces our position as a leading space nation as we look to the future of spaceflight, which can spur growth and innovation across the sector, as well as creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships.”
Dan Hart, the chief executive of Virgin Orbit, said obtaining the license was a “key preparatory milestone” of Cosmic Girl.
Melissa Thorpe, the head of Spaceport Cornwall, said: “To be the first spaceport in the UK with a license to operate is a historic moment. Cornwall is now ready to open up the use of space for good.”
She added: “The CAA continues to work on several license applications, including being in very advanced stages with Virgin Orbit on its applications for launch and range licenses, as well as the satellite operators, ahead of a proposed first UK launch.
Louis Gardner, Cornwall council portfolio holder for economy, said it was a “fantastic” milestone. “We are now one step closer to becoming the UK’s first operational spaceport. We await with great excitement the next steps,”
Spaceport Cornwall is the first of seven spaceports being developed across the United Kingdom. The battle is on for the first vertical space launch is expected to take place mid 2023 from the planned SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland.