- Parabolic Arc
- November 29, 2023
Excitement Builds for First Orbital Launch From the UK
The excitement is building for the first orbital launch ever conducted from the United Kingdom. The Daily Express reports that Spaceport Cornwall is preparing to distribute tickets for people to watch the historic launch by Virgin Orbit. However, it’s not clear just how much they will be able to see.
Virgin Orbit uses a Boeing 747 that drops the satellite booster, known as LauncherOne, out over the ocean. The actual ignition of the rocket will be many miles off the coast in a protected launch zone. And it’s a relatively small rocket as these things go.
My guess is people onshore will be able to see the ignition and resulting contrail, providing there is good visibility. A friend of mine recorded a Virgin Orbit launch off the coast of California from the beach. However, it will be a far cry from a conventional vertical launch from a ground-based pad.
That being said, watching a Boeing 474 take off with a rocket attached is a pretty cool experience, as I can attest from first hand experience in Mojave.