Cornwall Spaceport: Spring 2022 target for satellites launch

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image copyrightSpaceport Cornwall
image captionArtwork: Spaceport Cornwall will be a horizontal launch site where modified aeroplanes will be used to launch small satellites into orbit above the Earth

Spaceport Cornwall is working towards launching the first satellites into space in spring 2022.

Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport near Newquay, said her focus is now on the first launch by a Virgin Orbit plane from the facility.

She said: "We are excited as it is a significant push for us with the tech being proven now."

Spaceport Cornwall will be a horizontal launch site where modified aeroplanes will be used to launch small satellites into orbit above the Earth.

The first launch from Spaceport Cornwall had originally been earmarked for October this year but delays in getting permissions and the pandemic have pushed the date back, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Spaceport Cornwall is hoping to apply for the licences required to operate as a spaceport later this year after legislation is approved by MPs, while Virgin Orbit will be able to apply for the licences needed to launch from the site.

Ms Thorpe stressed that Spaceport Cornwall is not just about Virgin Orbit, saying that there was work being done to attract more operators to Cornwall with announcements set to be made later this year.

image copyrightVirgin Orbit
image captionSpaceport Cornwall is hoping to apply for the licences required to operate as a spaceport later this year

"To me the launch is exciting but it is also the spaceport as a catalyst, as a platform to attract business, investment, jobs and funding into the area," she said.

"We have incredible businesses here already doing wonderful things and working on world class projects and we want them involved with this.

"We are coming out of the pandemic looking to recruit and create jobs - the programme hasn't changed."

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