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First UK Spaceport Wins License, Boosting Branson Launch Bid

  • Cornish hub secures backing from regulator, British government
  • Move paves way for historic Virgin Orbit mission this month
Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, UK.
Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, UK.Photographer: James Beck/Bloomberg
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The UK issued its first-ever spaceport license to a launch hub in southwest England, paving the way for a ground-breaking mission by billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. later this month.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority granted the license to Spaceport Cornwall following official sign-off from Transport Secretary Mark Harper, approving the base’s safety and security together with the infrastructure and equipment needed for horizontal space launches, according to a statement Wednesday.