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Britain’s Virgin LauncherOne nears launching from Spaceport Cornwall; How long will the launch take?

Virgin’s LauncherOne is scheduled to launch from Cornwall carrying satellites on a historic day for the United Kingdom and Europe.

When the United Kingdom launches its first satellite payload from Spaceport Cornwall, it will become one of only ten nations capable of launching rockets into space.

The United States, Russia, India, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Iran, and French Guiana for the European Space Agency are the only nations capable of launching satellites into orbit from their own soil.

In contrast to vertical launches, the LauncherOne rocket carrying nine satellites is mounted to the wing of the Cosmic Girl, a former Virgin Atlantic 747 passenger jet.

At around 35,000 feet, the rocket detaches from the plane and blasts into space, releasing its cargo when it reaches orbit.

Virgin’s LauncherOne Set To Make History

The Start Me Up mission, which takes its name from a Rolling Stones song of the same name, had hoped to launch last year, but it has been postponed for months because the Civil Aviation Authority, which has never dealt with a space launch before, had not yet granted it a permit.

History might be made as soon as Monday night (January 9) when a former Virgin passenger plane is due to take off and launch a rocket into orbit.

It comes more than 70 years after the British Space Programs was founded in 1952 and represents a turning point for the UK space sector.

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Launch Schedule

Britain-United Kingdom-Europe-Virgin LauncherOne-Cornwall-Space-Technology
Virgin’s LauncherOne is scheduled to launch from Cornwall carrying satellites on a historic day for the United Kingdom and Europe.


The entire launch phase is estimated to last around 10 minutes. It’s fortunate if you live nearby and intend to watch it outside on a frigid January night!

The majority of people in the UK and Ireland should be able to see LauncherOne within 60 seconds of its ignition, while people who live on the coasts of France, Portugal, and Spain would have a decent view within two to three minutes, according to Virgin Orbit.

In order for that to function, a modified Boeing 747—previously a passenger airliner in Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic fleet—departs from Spaceport Cornwall much like a regular airplane.

The pilot presses the “Big Red Button” to launch a rocket attached to the plane’s belly over the Atlantic when it reaches the desired altitude of 35,000 feet right off the coast of Ireland.

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