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England is preparing for the first satellite launch in western Europe.

England is preparing for the first satellite launch in western Europe.

Monday will see the launch of the first orbital satellites from Western Europe from Cornwall in southwest England.

For the first time outside of the company's base in the United States, Virgin Orbit, which is partially owned by billionaire Richard Branson, who established the Virgin Atlantic airline, aims to deploy a modified Boeing 747 with a rocket fitted under its wing.

Virgin Orbit will use a modified Boeing 747 with a rocket fitted beneath its wing to launch satellites from the UK.

The rocket will be launched over the Atlantic after the aircraft reaches a height of about 10,670 meters (35,000 feet). This is referred to as a horizontal launch, and it will place seven tiny satellites from different clients into orbit.

The mission has been assigned a window for departure starting at 10:16 pm (2216 GMT), however that is subject to weather, other scheduling conflicts, and technical problems. Mid- and late-January backup dates are available, according to Virgin Orbit.

According to Melissa Thorpe, director of Spaceport Cornwall, "you certainly want the finest weather as possible to ensure the best performance out of the system and to get the satellites exactly where they need to be."

England is preparing for the first satellite launch in western Europe.
A successful ground test known as a wet dress rehearsal, which involves fuelling the rocket, was held on Thursday, four days ahead of the Virgin Orbit launch [Henry Nicholls/Reuters]


England is preparing for the first satellite launch in western Europe.
Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket in a hanger at Cornwall Airport in Newquay, England.
England is preparing for the first satellite launch in western Europe.
A replica model of Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket sits in a media area ahead of UK's First launch at Newquay Airport in Newquay, Britain, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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