Spaceport Cornwall is the UK’s horizontal launch solution, utilising the state-of-the-art facilities at Cornwall Airport Newquay and Goonhilly Earth Station. This commercial spaceport is a partnership between Cornwall Council, the UK Space Agency and the private launch provider Virgin Orbit. With one of the longest runways in the United Kingdom (2,744m), state-of-the-art infrastructure, direct access to the sea, uncongested airspace and low residential build-up, Spaceport Cornwall, located at Newquay Airport has all the facilities in place to operate as a commercial spaceport. Facilities at Goonhilly Earth Station allow tracking, monitoring and mission control. Goonhilly is the world’s largest satellite earth receiving station with commercial deep space communications. On 16 November 2022, it was announced that Spaceport Cornwall had been granted an operating licence by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) allowing it to send satellites into space. From this location in the United Kingdom, Virgin Orbit will bring small satellites into space with its air-launched rocket LauncherOne.

Spaceport Cornwall

Name: Spaceport Cornwall
Alternative name: Newquay Airport
Country: United Kingdom
Owner: Cornwall Council
Altitude: 119 m
Coordinates: 50°26'27"N - 004°59'53"W
First launch/spaceflight: 2023
Launch vehicle:

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The United Kingdom is located relatively far north, which means it’s perfect for launching satellites into polar and Sun-synchronous orbits, which go over the north and south poles. These orbits are ideal for satellites that monitor the Earth and provide telecommunications. From Spaceport Cornwall, in support of the UK Space Agency, a LauncherOne rocket of Virgin Orbit can launch small satellites from under the wing of a converted Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 jumbo jet (called Cosmic Girl). LauncherOne is a two-stage orbital launch vehicle developed and flown by Virgin Orbit that began operational flights in 2021, after being in development from 2007 to 2020. It's an air-launched rocket, designed to carry smallsat payloads (CubeSats) of up to 300 kg (660 lb) into a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), following air launch from a modified Boeing 747-400 at high altitude. After the launch of the rocket, the modified Boeing 747 will return back to Spaceport Cornwall to get ready for a new mission.


Runway 12/30: 2,744 m / 9,003 ft

Launch Site One Launch Site One
Credit: Virgin Orbit/Spaceport Cornwall

The northern U.S. state of Alaska is home to the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska which is used for launching both military missiles and commercial rockets. This remote U.S. launch base, previously known as the "Kodiak Launch Complex," is owned by the U.S. state-owned Alaska Aerospace Corporation and is located on Kodiak Island. After the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska opened in 1998, numerous U.S. satellites have already been launched into space by various types of rockets. In November 2021, a commercial rocket from the space company Astra also put some small satellites into space for the first time from the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska.

Spaceport America is an FAA-licensed spaceport located on 18,000 acres (7,300 ha) of State Trust Land in the Jornada del Muerto desert basin 45 miles (72 km) north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Truth or Consequences. Spaceport America is "the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport", designed and constructed specifically for commercial users, that had not previously been an airport or federal infrastructure of any kind. The site is built to accommodate both vertical and horizontal launch aerospace vehicles, as well as an array of non-aerospace events and commercial activities. Spaceport America has a new concrete paved runway, 10,000 feet long and 200 feet wide. With Virgin Galactic's launch of the VSS Unity, with three people aboard, on May 22, 2021, New Mexico became the third US state to launch humans into space after California and Florida. Another company that is active at Spaceport America is UP Aerospace. This company launches from Spaceport America its SpaceLoft XL sounding rockets that reach a maximum altitude 115 kilometers during suborbital flights. UP Aerospace provides sub-orbital transportation for corporate, military and educational payloads and the mainden launch of a SpaceLoft XL took place on 25 September 2006.

Launch Site One, or Corn Ranche, is a private spaceport in the West Texas town of Van Horn, Texas. The 670-square-kilometer (165,000-acre) land parcel was purchased by Internet billionaire and founder of aerospace company Blue Origin Jeff Bezos. Current launch license and experimental permits from the US government Federal Aviation Administration authorize sub-orbital spaceflights of New Shepard rockets of the private space company Blue Origin. The first flight test took place on November 13, 2006 and the first human sub-orbital spaceflight launched at Launch Site One on July 20, 2021. The launch complex is located in a remote area of desert in the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas and there are no on-site public viewing areas in the vicinity for people who want to see a launch.

Launch Site One

Name: Launch Site One
Alternative name: Corn Ranch
Country: USA (Texas)
Owner: Blue Origin
Altitude: 1,120 m
Coordinates: 31°25'24"N - 104°45'32"W
First launch/spaceflight: 2006
Launch vehicle:

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The launch pad of the New Shepard rocket is located about 2.9 km (1.8 mi) north of the check-out building. The landing pad for the New Shepard rocket is located about 6.1 km (3.8 mi) north of a check-out building and 3.2 km (2 mi) north of the launch pad. In addition to the suborbital launch complex, Launch Site One includes a number of rocket engine test stands. The commercial spaceport included a vehicle processing facility, a launch complex, vehicle landing and recovery area, an astronaut training facility, lodging, and other support facilities.

Launch pads

Launch Pad 1: New Shepard

Launch Site One Launch Site One
Credit: Blue Origin

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 is the name of a private launch base in New Zealand located on the coast of the southernmost point of the Mahia Peninsula. This launch base is used by the American space company Rocket Lab for launching Electron rockets and was officially opened in 2016 after which the first rocket was launched from this location in May 2017. Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 became the world's first private launch base from which to launch satellites into orbit. Thanks to this private launch base, New Zealand became a major player in the commercial space sector as dozens of satellites have already been launched into space from this location.

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