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Date of first-ever UK space launch confirmed as Virgin Orbit rocket prepares for blast-off

  • January 06, 2023

According to Virgin Orbit, the 33 satellites already deployed via LauncherONe were all successfully carried to the precise, desired orbit — while demonstrating in the process the ability to fly through (and blast-off above) inclement weather.

The aerospace firm has said that the flight manifest for the upcoming Start Me Up mission is completely full.

Among the payload are the two shoebox-sized satellites — known as ‘CubeSats’, after their shape — that will make up the Ministry of Defense (MOD)’s Defense Science Technology Laboratory’s Prometheus-2 mission.

According to the UK Space Agency, the pair of CubeSats “will provide a test platform for monitoring radio signals including GPS and sophisticated imaging, paving the way for a more collaborative and connected space communication system with our allies.”

Joining the Prometheus-2 craft onboard LauncherOne will also be “DOVER”, a pathfinder satellite for resilient global navigation satellite systems; “ForgeStar-o”, an in-space manufacturing facility designed to return to Earth for re-use; and “AMAN”, a single Earth-observation satellite that represents the first orbital mission for the Sultanate of Oman.

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