UK space launch: Historic rocket mission set to blast off from Cornwall

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The first rocket launch from UK soil is expected to take place on Monday evening, in an historic moment for Britain’s space industry.

The retired jumbo jet Cosmic Girl should take off from Newquay airport in Cornwall as part of the Start Me Up mission, which will see several satellites blasted into space. 

The initial window for the mission will open at 10.16pm, with additional back-up dates continuing into mid and late January. 

Named in tribute to The Rolling Stones’ 1981 hit, the mission involves a repurposed Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft carrying Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket.

Around an hour into the flight the rocket will be released at 35,000ft over the Atlantic Ocean, before accelerating to 8,000mph on its mission to deploy seven satellites into orbit. 

Follow the latest developments below. 

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