Virgin Orbit’s Boeing 747-400 N744VG, known as “Cosmic Girl” has arrived at Newquay Cornwall airport ahead of the first-ever satellite launch from the UK.
Cosmic Girl will be used as a launch platform for a rocket carrying nine satellites which will be launched into high-earth orbit next month.
The Boeing 747-400 was specifically chosen from Virgin Atlantics fleet when the type was retired having spent years flying holidaymakers across the Atlantic as G-VWOW.
A number of “rehearsals” will now be flown using the aircraft which has been adapted to carry a rocket called LauncherOne which deploys from the aircraft at around 35,000ft.
Launcher one will then carry its payload into orbit.
Although Virgin Orbit is a private business, Squadron Leader Mathew “Stanny” Stannard, a Royal Air Force pilot, will fly the 747 on its historic mission.
The payload on the first mission will include:
- AMBER IOD-3