Virgin Orbit scrubs Cornwall launch
December 9, 2022
By Chris Forrester
The planned Virgin Orbit flight from Spaceport Cornwall on December 14th has been cancelled. Virgin is blaming the UK’s licensing for the flight which are not yet received.
Virgin Orbit’s CEO Dan Hart, speaking to the BBC, said: “With licences still outstanding for the launch itself and for the satellites within the payload, additional technical work [is] needed to establish system health and readiness.”
The problem now becomes complicated in that Virgin’s technical ‘launch window’ for its cargo of satellites was only two days. Hart said that a new launch window would happen “in the coming weeks”, and thus making a 2022 launch flight questionable.
However, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) say they are not responsible for the delay adding that regulation “is not a barrier” to the launch and talk about Virgin Orbit’s technical issues which “in no way relate to the timing of when a licence will be issued.”
The CAA’s Tim Johnson (Director/Space Regulation) added: “Effective licensing forms an integral part of UK space activity. Spaceport Cornwall’s licence already permits Virgin Orbit to undertake its testing programme prior to launch. Our dedicated team has been working closely with all partners to assess applications and issue the remaining licences within the timelines we set at the outset.”