London, January 9. (askanews) — Britain’s space agency, the British Space Agency, is preparing for the Start Me Up mission: the historic first launch of a constellation of satellites from British soil into orbit.
After a long series of delays, if all is confirmed, on the night between January 9 and 10, 2023, Cosmic Girl, Virgin Orbit’s Boeing 747, will take off from Spaceport Cornwall, in Cornwall, carrying the high-altitude LauncherOne, the launcher once launched. Launched from the mother plane, thanks to a powerful rocket engine, it will carry its precious payload of satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
This private launch technology, thanks to collaboration between the British Space Agency, Cornwall Council, the Royal Air Force and the private space company headed by Sir Richard Branson, will allow the UK to gain the ability to launch satellites independently starting with the same person. Earth and at low cost, paving the way for a new chapter in the so-called new space economy.
Named after the historic song by the Rolling Stones, one of the most iconic British rock bands of all time, the Start Me Up mission marks a string of firsts: the first ever orbital launch from the UK, the first international launch by Virgin Orbit and the first commercial Commercial launch from Western Europe (the other launch is usually from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana).
On board LauncherOne is a “family” of satellites of various sizes and nationalities, including the first satellite to be launched from Oman.