Reply To: Possible visibility of Virgin Orbit launch from the UK on January 9th

Home Forums General Discussion Possible visibility of Virgin Orbit launch from the UK on January 9th Reply To: Possible visibility of Virgin Orbit launch from the UK on January 9th

#615032
Nick James
Participant

Yes, the spaceports in the Highlands and islands will be for vertical launches unlike the air launch approach adopted by Virgin Orbit. They are all currently aiming for 300 kg or so to polar LEO. You can do a lot with that mass these days. They are also looking at being able to insert small payloads into heliocentric orbit so missions to the Moon and other planets are possible with these small launchers. You only need really big stuff for people!

For the UK vertical launch vehicles have a look at Skyrora and Orbex:

https://www.skyrora.com/
https://orbex.space/

Skyrora in particular are using a very British set of propellants (Hydrogen Peroxide and RP-1 kerosene). These were used in the Black Arrow launch of Prospero 50 years ago.

It is not just careers and training, it is a potentially huge and very lucrative business.

Regarding range safety the mission planning ensures that there is a very low probability of debris hitting anyone. The CAA wouldn’t licensed the launches otherwise.