How to watch Virgin Orbit as Brits prepare for first ever takeoff from UK soil

BRITS are braced for a historic moment tonight as a rocket is set to blast off from UK soil for the first time.

The country’s first ever orbital rocket launch is due to leave from Cornwall after years of planning.

Several satellites will be blasted off if all goes to plan


Several satellites will be blasted off if all goes to planCredit: PA

It’s a huge moment not only for the UK but also western Europe, which has never sent satellites into space from home turf before.

The launch window opens at 10.16pm, if all goes to plan.

And best of all, you can watch the action too.

A lucky few were able to get hold of tickets to watch from Newquay.

Parts of Ireland, including Cork and Kerry, may be able to see it from the sky depending on weather conditions.

Fortunately for everyone else Virgin Orbit will have a live stream on YouTube to watch everything unfold.

The live broadcast is due to start at 9pm UK time.

You’ll be able to see pre-flight operations and listen to launch commentary.

Experts are always prepared for the worst and have other dates lined up in January if tonight can’t go ahead in the end.

The Start Me Up mission is named in tribute to The Rolling Stones’ 1981 hit, onboard a rocket called LauncherOne.

The 21 metre rocket will be flown under the wing of a 747 jet nicknamed Cosmic Girl from a spaceport in Cornwall, England.

The plane will head west to a designated launch zone in the Celtic Sea.

When it reaches this point at an altitude of 10,668m, the 747 will release the rocket, which will then climb even further.

It will carry several toaster sized satellites, which will then be released into orbit more than 500km above earth.

A number of the satellites, which have use both commercially and for security applications, will be used by state customers including the UKUS and Oman.

It was originally hoped the launch could take place before Christmas but owing to technical and regulatory issues it had to be pushed into 2023.

In the past, satellites produced in the UK have needed to be sent to foreign spaceports to make their journey into space.

Ian Annett, deputy chief executive at the UK Space Agency, said: “Who would not be excited by the fact this is the first time that it has been done in Europe? That’s because it’s hard.

“There is a point where the training takes over and you fall into that rhythm of the teams knowing what they need to do.

“They know when they need to make the decisions they need to make.

“I would say the real achievements here are not the successes that you can necessarily see but all of the challenges that collectively as a team people have overcome.

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“The culmination of all of that is putting these exciting missions into space. It’s the things at the pointy end of the rocket that really matter.”

Southern parts of Ireland should get a good view of the action


Southern parts of Ireland should get a good view of the actionCredit: Virgin Orbit

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