LONDON (AP/RTR) — For the first time, a space rocket has been launched from Western Europe. On the night of Monday to Tuesday, space company Virgin Orbit launched a satellite rocket into orbit from southwest England.
When a rocket goes into space, it is usually launched from a known launch site such as Cape Canaveral (United States), Baikonur (Kazakhstan) or Kourou (French Guiana). Satellites from Western Europe have now been put into Earth orbit for the first time.
A Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl took off from the southwest of England at 11:17pm (Netherlands time) to applause from around 2,000 spectators. Over the Atlantic Ocean, Cosmic Girl launched a rocket, LauncherOne, at an altitude of just over 10 kilometers. It happened shortly after midnight. LauncherOne contains nine satellites of seven clients. This payload is delivered to Earth orbit.
Virgin Orbit is the airline owned by businessman Richard Branson. British Science Minister George Freeman described the launch as a historic moment. “Assuming everything goes according to plan, we won the European space race and we will be the first country to launch satellites from Europe,” he told Reuters news agency before takeoff. “We are sending a strong signal tonight that we intend to be a force in the space economy of tomorrow.”
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