Monday 24th October: 7pm, Online briefing meeting – Click here to register
Saturday 29th October, Noon – 2pm: Protest outside Newquay Airport
St Mawgan, Newquay TR8 4RQ
Meet at West Car Park entrance. Public transport details here. Car parking costs £5 for 2 hours.
The first space launch from UK soil will take place sometime during the first two week of November with a ‘launch window’, granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) opening on October 29.
Unlike traditional vertical launches, the Launcher One rocket will begin its flight strapped to Virgin Orbit’s ‘Cosmic Girl’ aircraft, a converted Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. Once the plane reaches 36,000ft the rocket will separate and then ignite, with its engines firing it through the earth’s upper atmosphere till it reaches orbit.
While the launch is being presented as a step forward for the civil space industry – with Virgin’s commercial space ambitions being heavily promoted – the rocket will launch two military satellites (that we know about) alongside commercial ones: Prometheus-2 and Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment (CIRCE). The mission is being led by RAF Squadron Leader Matthew Stannard.
Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin told the Defence Space 2022 conference in London earlier this year that Prometheus-2 is a CubeSat intended as a test platform for monitoring radio signals including Global Positioning System (GPS), conducting sophisticated imaging, and paving the way for a more connected space-based communication system. It was built in collaboration with Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), In-Space Missions, and Airbus Defence and Space, with DSTL owning the satellite.
CIRCE is a joint mission between DSTL and the US Naval Research Laboratory. This satellite, we are told, “seeks to advance space weather measurement and modelling capabilities. It comprises two CubeSats that will orbit in near-polar low-Earth orbit.”
Also supporting the flight is the US intelligence agency, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) although no details have been released about its involvement in the mission.
According to Virgin’s press release
“The missions of these satellites span a wide range of activities aimed at improving life on planet Earth, including reducing the environmental impact of production; preventing illegal trafficking, smuggling, and terrorism; and a host of national security functions.”
An Alternative Vision
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