The U.K. will carve out a place for itself in space history Monday evening with the planned launch of a rocket into orbit. Virgin Orbit Inc.’s satellite-launch mission will be the first space launch from U.K. soil. A modified Boeing 747 aircraft dubbed Cosmic Girl will take off from Spaceport Cornwall in southwestern England carrying Virgin Orbit’s air-launched LauncherOne rocket on its wing. LauncherOne will be carrying nine satellites.
stock fell more than 2% on Monday ahead of the launch. The horizontal launch, which differs from a typical vertical takeoff, will take place at Spaceport Cornwall, a consortium owned by Virgin Orbit, Cornwall Council and others. When the plane reaches an altitude of approximately 35,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, it will release the rocket, which will carry the satellites into space. The LauncherOne system last week completed a successful rehearsal of Monday’s launch. The Start Me Up mission, named after the hit Rolling Stones song, will also mark the first international mission for Virgin Orbit and the first commercial launch from Western Europe. “This launch represents the opening of a new era in the British space industry and new partnerships across industry, government, and allies. Space is already responsible for tens of thousands …