Spaceport Cornwall: Date for UK's first ever rocket launch confirmed

spaceport cornwall
Cosmic Girl will soon take flight Credit: Spaceport Cornwall/Virgin Orbit

The big day for Cornwall has finally arrived. A rocket is set to be launched into space from Newquay on Monday 9 January.

Spaceport Cornwall - which is in Cornwall Airport Newquay - will make history in 2023 by launching satellites to space from UK soil, all from a regional passenger airport.

It's been years in the making and planning, and with the arrival of Virgin Orbit's Cosmic Girl on the Cornish runway in October, the anticipation and excitement grew.

All clearance has now been given, and wet dress rehearsals have been successful, meaning Cosmic Girl is ready for take-off.

Cosmic Girl is set to make history Credit: Spaceport Cornwall/Virgin Orbit

Now it's been confirmed that Cosmic Girl - the modified Boeing 747 which was once a passenger plane - will launch into space with a rocket attached to its wing on Monday 9 January.

Managing Director of Cornwall Airport Newquay, Sam O’Dwyer, said: “We are incredibly proud to be involved in this innovative project to enable space launch from CornwallAirport Newquay with Spaceport Cornwall and Virgin Orbit.

"The team effort that has gone into developing a fully licensed Spaceport facility which will deliver safe and secure space operations for the UK’s first-ever space launch has been simply inspiring. I’d like to say a massive well done to my team.”

Once Cosmic Girl has flown off from Spaceport up some 35,000ft (10,700 metres) over the Atlantic, it will release the LauncherOne rocket that will send seven satellites into orbit.

Cllr Louis Gardner from Cornwall Council said: "This is a real milestone for the whole project. We're not just the first to launch in the UK but the first in Europe.

"We never thought nine years ago when we first set out on this particular journey that we would ever be the first, but that's how it's worked out. Our team at the Spaceport have kept ploughing forward and we're in a position now where we will be the first in the whole of Europe."