HomeGame GuidesTWIRL 99: Virgin Orbit to perform air launch of LauncherOne from UK

TWIRL 99: Virgin Orbit to perform air launch of LauncherOne from UK

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Paul Hill


Jan 7, 2023 9:12 PM EST

With Christmas and the New Year over, rocket launches are starting to pick up again. On Monday, we’ll see Virgin Orbit launch its Cosmic Girl aircraft from Cornwall, UK before air-launching the LauncherOne rocket. The event is notable in the UK as plans to launch rockets from the country have been going on for years and now it is finally starting to happen.

Monday, January 9

  • The first mission we have on Monday will see SpaceX launch a Falcon 9 carrying OneWeb satellites into orbit. For those who read last week’s edition of TWIRL, this is the same mission that was reported back then but seems to have been delayed. OneWeb is similar to SpaceX in that it sets up a constellation of internet-beaming satellites, however, it does not have rockets to orbit satellites and therefore relies on governments and other companies that do, such as SpaceX. The mission will launch from Cape Canaveral at 4:55am UTC and will be available for streaming SpaceX’s website.
  • The second mission of the day will be launched just five minutes after the last mission but from the other side of the world. The private Chinese company, Galactic Energy, will launch its Ceres-1 rocket carrying several satellites including Xiamen SciTech 1. The mission will be known as Give Me Five and will be launched at 5:00 AM UTC from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
  • Finally, Virgin Orbit will perform an aerial launch of LauncherOne from its Boeing 747 aircraft named Cosmic Girl. It carries several payloads to orbit but what really stands out about this mission is that it takes off from Cornwall in the UK. Talk of a UK spaceport has been going on for years, but now it looks like launches are finally happening. The launch is scheduled to take place between 22:16 UTC and 12:16 UTC, and tickets for the event are sold out According to BBC News. The launch can be seen at Virgin Orbit website.

Friday, January 12th

  • The final mission of the week will see SpaceX launch its Falcon Heavy carrying the USSF-67 mission for the US Space Force. The mission will see the launch of the military SATCOM (CBAS 2) and LDPE 3a rideshare communications satellites hosting several experimental payloads. The mission takes off from Florida from 22:30 UTC and may be streamed on the SpaceX website.


  • The only launch we got last week was a Falcon 9 from SpaceX carrying several SmallSats as part of the Transporter-6 mission.

That’s all for this week, check back next time!

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