An orbital rocket carrying nine satellites has been blasted into space after a historic launch from UK soil.
LauncherOne, carrying nine satellites for deployment in Earth’s lower orbit, shot off towards the stars from around 35,000ft above the Atlantic, having been carried skyward by a converted jumbo jet dubbed Cosmic Girl.
The former Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 took off from Spaceport Cornwall, at the site of Newquay Airport, at just gone 10pm on Monday night, sparking wild cheers and applause from the 2,000 members of the public who were lucky enough to snag tickets.
Nestled under its left wing was the 21 metre-long LauncherOne, tasked with transporting the satellites – several of which were made in Britain – into space at speeds of up to 17,500mph.
It was released from the aircraft just over an hour after take-off from Newquay, with the rocket’s path taking it to the other side of the world, ready to release the satellites about an hour later.