All of Ireland will be focused the night sky this evening for the Virgin Orbit launch of the ‘Start Me Up’ mission, but nowhere more so than at National Space Centre, which is supporting Telemetry, Tracking and Control (TT&C) groundstation services for the mission.
“We are thrilled to be working with our partners Leafspace and Goonhilly to provide TT&C for this historic launch from Cornwall,” commented Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO of National Space Centre at Elfordstown EarthStation near Midleton in Cork. “Interestingly, while it will be a first for the British, it will be the third time we’ve provided ground control data for a space launch at the NSC. We’ve previously supported RocketLabs’ Electron rocket launch and we also provided groundstation services for South Korea’s recent Nuri rocket launch for Contec.”
NSC will be hosting a livestreamed watch event from National Space Centre as staff and partners gather to watch the Virgin Orbit jumbo jet known as ‘Cosmic Girl’ climb to 35,000 before air launching its LauncherOne rocket into orbit at youtube.com/@NationalSpaceCentreIRE. The event will start 5 minutes before launch, currently scheduled for 22:15.
LauncherOne will then release eight miniaturised satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The LauncherOne mission will communicate with mission control at Spaceport Cornwall via a select network of ground stations, including one in Ireland at NSC. LauncherOne’s eight ’smallsat’ satellites, each the size of a cereal box, are being released into Low Earth Orbit for various Virgin customers.