RAF St Mawgan News

Start Me Up – Virgin Orbit's UK Mission

A joint mission with Virgin Orbit, the MOD and the US National Reconnaissance Office, ‘Start Me Up’ (named after the 1981 Rolling Stones hit released on Virgin Records) made a few giant leaps toward reality in mid-October. After many months of work supporting Virgin Orbit, UK Space Command, UK Space Agency and our neighbours Spaceport Cornwall, RAF St Mawgan personnel were pleased to be on hand to document the arrival of ‘Cosmic Girl’ – Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747 launch platform. A few days later, Station Photographer, Cpl Andy Morris, was in action again capturing the arrival of the RAF C17 which was transporting Virgin Orbit’s ‘LauncherOne’ rocket from California to Spaceport Cornwall. Sqn Ldr Mathew ‘Stanny’ Stannard, an RAF Test Pilot currently working within Virgin Orbit, will be part of the crew launching this rocket, which will take small satellites into orbit. Horizontal launches, provided by commercial space companies from airports around the world, offer flexibility in future space launches – for both Government and industry customers. The RAF and UK Space Command are using this project to enhance Defence’s understanding of the use of small satellites, and responsive, resilient space launches and operations and RAF St Mawgan is proud to be a part it. Thanks to all those Station personnel who have worked so hard to support the work of Virgin Orbit over the past year.    

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