Watch Virgin Orbit's Cosmic Girl take off from Cornwall Airport in UK's first space launch

  • Watch: Cosmic Girl takes off from Newquay

The first rocket to launch into space from UK soil has been successfully released from Virgin Orbit's Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl.

The plane took off horizontally from the airport in Newquay shortly after 10pm tonight (9 January) with the LauncherOne rocket attached to its wing.

A little more than an hour later, the rocket successfully detached from the plane and ignited as Cosmic Girl made its way back to Cornwall.

The LauncherOne is the first rocket to launch into space from UK soil.

The 'Start Me Up' mission is named in tribute to the Rolling Stones’ 1981 hit and so it was only fitting that Start Me Up played as Cosmic Girl's wheels lifted off the runway in Newquay. There were cheers from the crowd as the plane took off and again as the rocket detached.

These satellites are the first launched into space from Europe. In the past, satellites produced in the UK have been sent to foreign facilities to make their journey into space.