Interview: Melissa Thorpe, Spaceport Cornwall

As the CEO of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Thorpe talks to Mark Broadbent about the facility’s work and ambitious long-term plans

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Spaceport Cornwall is the work of a consortium consisting of Virgin Orbit, Goonhilly Earth Station and Cornwall Council, whose aim is to make it a leading centre for the UK’s space industry. Virgin Orbit will undertake the first orbital launch from UK soil in 2022. The company’s Boeing 747-400 carrier aircraft, Cosmic Girl, will operate from Spaceport Cornwall to release its LauncherOne rocket. Spaceport Cornwall could also be a landing site for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spaceplane, thanks to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with parent company Sierra Nevada Corporation last year.

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