The »Cosmic Girl« takes off
Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
For the first time, a jumbo jet has taken off from British soil as a flying launch pad for space satellites.
The converted machine, called "Cosmic Girl," took off from Newquay Airport in south-west England late Monday evening.
At a height of around 10.7 kilometers above the Atlantic Ocean, the converted Boeing 747 aircraft will then send a launch vehicle into space, which in turn will put nine small satellites into orbit.
This applies to both civil and military use.
The plane will return to Earth meanwhile.
Responsible is the US space company Virgin Orbit of the British billionaire Richard Branson, which has been carrying out similar launches in the USA since 2021.
In honor of the British rock band Rolling Stones, the mission is called "Start Me Up" after the hit of the same name by the group around frontman Mick Jagger.
Newquay is one of a total of seven planned spaceports in the United Kingdom.
The first vertical launch of a rocket is planned in Scotland later this year.
The government hopes the space industry will contribute around £3.8 billion (€4.3 billion) to the UK economy over the coming decade.