Spaceport Cornwall granted operating licence

Spaceport Cornwall will be allowed to host the UK’s first space launch after it was granted an operating licence by the aviation regulator.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the site in Newquay could be used for sending satellites into space.

Its first mission is expected to be conducted by the Virgin Orbit company in the coming weeks.

The mission has been given the title Start Me Up in tribute to The Rolling Stones.

The authority said it was in “very advanced stages” with Virgin Orbit on other applications for launch and range licences, as well as discussions with the satellite operators.

A repurposed Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft named Cosmic Girl and Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket travelled from California to Spaceport Cornwall last month.

The 747 will take off while carrying the rocket, before releasing it at 35,000ft (10,500m) over the Atlantic Ocean to the south of Ireland.

The plane will return to the spaceport, while the rocket will ignite its engine and take…

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