Virgin Orbit’s “Start Me Up” mission was the first-ever orbital mission to lift off from the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan when its 70-foot-long (21 meters) LauncherOne rocket suffered an anomaly, preventing it from making orbit.
The company’s carrier plane Cosmic Girl lifted off from Spaceport Cornwall on schedule on Monday (Jan. 9) at 5:02 p.m. EST (2202 GMT). The lift-off was celebrated by thousands of onlookers who had descended on Spaceport Cornwall to be part of the historic launch. Cornwall Airport Newquay was chosen as the location for Spaceport Cornwall as it has one of the longest runways of a regional airport in the U.K. and direct access to a flight path over the sea.
“Start Me Up” was to be a mission of many firsts: The first orbital launch from the U.K., the first commercial launch from western Europe, the first Omani satellite and the first satellite built in Wales. Here we take a look at some of the best photos from the launch event at Spaceport Cornwall.
In this photo is the 72-ft (22 meter) replica LauncherOne rocket that took pride of place in the Spaceport Cornwall event zone for the “Start Me Up” mission launch.