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Virgin Orbit schedules launch from Cornwall

January 28, 2022

By Chris Forrester

An Omani scientific satellite will be carried and launched from Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket when it makes its first launch from Cornwall in the UK later this year.

The Omani payload, developed by Earth observation specialist Poland-based SatRevolution, will be put into low Earth orbit to collect climate data.

The mission is the follow-on to the MoU signed during International Astronautical Congress held in October 2021 in Dubai, which established the cooperation of the Parties to design, manufacture and launch the first Omani satellite, manufactured by SatRevolution and onboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, on the first ever launch from the UK out of Spaceport Cornwall in 2022.

The launch from Cornwall and subsequent missions to deep space will be enabled through Virgin Orbit’s via its rocket launch system. The Cornwall mission providing the first Oman Satellite in Space sets the foundation for allowing previously non-space faring nations the ability to launch satellites from their own soil, which is a key element of the Oman strategy for Space.

The Cornwall launch is understood to be in addition to a recent agreement by Oman-based International Emerging Technologies with Virgin Orbit to prepare satellite launch platforms in Oman itself.

Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology has supported the agreement to reinforce the Sultanate’s interest in the space science sector and related logistics services.

As per the agreement, the establishment of satellites in low Earth orbit will be studied to conduct scientific research, capture high-resolution images of space, and use the latest solutions to digitally analyse data and images collected from orbit.

“Only a few nations have been bold enough to venture into deep space, but with Oman’s strong vision supported by cutting edge launch and spacecraft technology another spacefaring nation is about to join those ranks,” said Virgin Orbit’s CEO Dan Hart. “We are proud to have been entrusted by the Sultanate of Oman as their exclusive launch partner in helping to fulfill the goals of bringing sustainable space solutions to Oman. Beginning with the launch of the first Omani satellites out of the first UK launch this year, the progression has been set for a myriad of space missions to expand technology, science and exploration.”

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