The Virgin Orbit Launcher One rocket, pictured in its hanger at Newquay Airport in August last year, will be equipped with Ministry of Defence observation kit
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Cornwall joins the space race as it emerges two small satellites will be launched from the county this year

  • Satellites will lift off on Virgin Orbit Launcher One rocket from Newquay Airport
  • They will deliver high-tech imaging sensors and allow UK to monitor the Earth
  • The rocket will be blasted 35,000ft above the ocean on a modified Boeing 747
  • Space technology is said to be ‘crucial for developing defence capabilities’

Cornwall is set to join the space race when it launches two shoebox-sized satellites this summer.

The so-called cubesats will lift off on the Virgin Orbit Launcher One rocket from Newquay Airport equipped with Ministry of Defence observation kit.

They will deliver high-tech imaging sensors and allow the UK to monitor the Earth and the oceans. 

Jeremy Quin, defence procurement minister, said such space technology is ‘crucial for developing defence capabilities’.

The satellites’ rocket will be blasted 35,000ft above the ocean on a modified Boeing 747. 

The Virgin Orbit Launcher One rocket, pictured in its hanger at Newquay Airport in August last year, will be equipped with Ministry of Defence observation kit

The Virgin Orbit Launcher One rocket, pictured in its hanger at Newquay Airport in August last year, will be equipped with Ministry of Defence observation kit

When released, they will be catapulted into orbit at 8,000 miles per hour.

Measuring about 30cm long, 20cm wide and 10cm deep the shoebox-sized satellite launch will be the first from British soil.

Mr Quin said: ‘Space technology is crucial for developing defence capabilities.

‘This collaboration with In-Space Missions and Airbus paves the way for the UK to become a more resilient, more robust and more significant global space entity.’ 

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