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Virgin Galactic: UK Can Reap £ 2 Billion Space Market as Branson’s ‘European Hub’ | United Kingdom | New UK News

Richard Branson sends message during space flight

Yesterday, Sir Richard Branson was propelled 53 miles to the edge of space aboard his Virgin Galactic rocket plane. He was accompanied on the mission by pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci, as well as three of his colleagues – Beth Moses, Colin Bennett and Sirisha Bandla. Sir Richard returned unharmed to Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert just over an hour later, calling the trip the “experience of a lifetime.”

And space tourism could one day come to the UK.

Spaceport Cornwall is Europe’s first horizontal launch site to provide Sir Richard with a responsive, affordable and efficient way to send small satellites into low earth orbit (LEO) through its Virgin Orbit brand.

And, as Sir Richard’s ‘key delivery partner’, the Cornwall Council-funded project could welcome the first launches as early as 2022 – creating up to 350 jobs and adding up to £ 200million in gross value added ( VAB) to the economy.

Cornwall Spaceport Acting Director Melissa Thorpe previously told why this could be an important moment for the UK.

Richard Branson's company will use the UK as

Richard Branson’s company to use the UK as its “European hub” (Image: GETTY)

Virgin Galactic exploded in space yesterday

Virgin Galactic exploded in space yesterday (Image: GETTY)

She said: “Virgin Orbit is a mobile launch platform – they go to their customer base.

“This means they’re going to have multiple locations around the world – Cornwall will be the European hub – their only location in Europe.

“They’ll probably come, on average, five times to pitch each year. As the market grows, it might increase a bit.

“When they’re not there, another business will be launched as well. So what we need to do here is create other activities around the airport facilities.

“We need to encourage satellite companies, rocket engineers and engine testing to take place when Virgin isn’t around – so it’s not just a wonder.”

READ MORE: Brexit Britain’s huge space project secures future UK jobs: “I won’t lose them overseas!”

Sir Richard set to make space tourism a possibility

Sir Richard set to make space tourism a possibility (Image: GETTY)

Space ports have traditionally been used to launch spacecraft into orbit by blowing huge heavy transport vehicles over launch pads.

But Cornwall Airport offers a unique approach – allowing a modified Boeing 747 to fly 30,000 feet before the rocket is thrown in what’s called an aerial launch.

This can then deploy the payload – which plans to contain small satellites – into LEO.

But parliamentary space committee chairman David Morris believes space tourism, a market expected to be worth £ 2.17 billion by 2030, “may also happen” at Spaceport Cornwall in the future. .

He told “The idea is it’s on the Gulf Stream, it’s hotter there so the weather is more reliable.

“If you go from there, you can see most of Europe, plus Greenland and Iceland, all the way to the Arctic Circle.

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Spaceport Cornwall to host Virgin Orbit

Cornail spaceport to host Virgin Orbit (Image: SPACEPORT CORNWALL)

“The view up there would be incredible and that’s why Virgin is interested in the horizontal take-off site.

“I think it’s a green light and it will stimulate the economy. I think they are already studying the feasibility.

Sir Richard is reported to be already considering this possibility.

Speaking to the i in February, he said: “Its location works very well, which allows us to take off over the sea, and the support from Cornwall Council and Spaceport has been tremendous.”

And while Ms Thorpe said there aren’t any concrete plans in place with Spaceport yet, she hasn’t ruled out the possibility going forward.

She told “There are no plans with us at the moment, the satellite launch is difficult enough.

The planes will deploy small satellites

The planes will deploy small satellites (Image: SPACEPORT CORNWALL)

“First we have to make sure that we can do it effectively. We are 100% focused on our first launch.

“The industry is moving more and more towards space flights and Virgin Galactic is on the program in the United States.

“If it gets more successful and more consistent then I’m sure we’ll look at how to do it in the UK.

“Right now it’s a long way off, because of regulations – we need to make sure we can safely launch satellites before humans.”

Work has already started on a £ 2million aviation center which will play a crucial role when future space missions take off from Spaceport Cornwall.

It will play a role in Spaceport Cornwall’s Space Technology Center (CST), a £ 5.8million development that includes a satellite integration and mission operations facility.

The Center for Space Technologies will integrate satellites into rockets and bring together UK satellite companies, universities and other space companies in one place to collaborate.

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This notice was published: 2021-07-12 19:30:00

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