UK to launch western Europe's first orbital satellite Monday

A historic satellite launch from Cornwall in south west England has been scheduled for Monday, Virgin Orbit said, in what will be the first time an orbital satellite has ever set off for release into space from western Europe.

Virgin Orbit plans to use a modified Boeing 747 with a rocket attached under its wing. Once in flight, the rocket will set off, taking small satellites from seven customers into orbit in space, in what is known as a horizontal launch.

The mission has been given a window for take-off from 2216 GMT on Monday but that is dependent on the weather plus other scheduling and system issues, and Virgin Orbit said there are back-up dates in mid and late January.

A successful rehearsal for the launch was held on Thursday, the company said in its statement.

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