Sunday, January 8, 2023

Virgin Orbit is On The Clock for First Mission of '23

Virgin Orbit has announced that their first mission of '23, "Start Me Up" is scheduled for 2216 UTC on Monday, January 9. That's 5:16 EST to 2:16 PST as one heads West. The launch window extends for two hours to 0016 UTC on Tuesday the 10th.

Virgin Orbit’s Start Me Up mission will be a mission of many firsts: the first orbital launch from the United Kingdom; the first international launch for Virgin Orbit; and the first commercial launch from western Europe; launching the first Omani satellite; the first satellite built in Wales; and more. These firsts are exciting in and of themselves, but each of them is also the first of what we hope and expect to be many.

Enabled by funding from the UK Space Agency, the mission will meet a key ambition of the UK Government’s National Space Strategy, the first ever orbital launch from the UK. Virgin Orbit has worked closely with a number of partners to prepare for this historic launch including the United States Department of Defense, United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the United States’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

 Live coverage will begin on YouTube at approximately 4:15 PM EST to 1:15 PM PST.  

The mission is bound for an orbit at 555km or 345 miles (statute miles).  Press guide here with tons of information including what the payloads are.   

Since the topic was a Monday launch, for those watching and wondering, SpaceX bumped the Sunday night launch of OneWeb 16 until Monday night in the US at 11:50 PM EST, 8:50 PM PST, or 0450 UTC on Tuesday the 10th.  A live webcast of that mission will start about 15 minutes before liftoff.  

No specific reason was given for the one day schedule slip, just a Tweet that said, “To complete pre-launch processing” and “Vehicle and spacecraft are healthy, and weather is >90% favorable for liftoff.”


  1. Looked, but couldn't find any reason for the OneWeb setback. No worries.

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  3. Watched it (while also watching SpaceX stacking the Starship on to the Booster), and it appears the second stage had a problem. Virgin was NOT very forthcoming as to the problem, just stated, "The second stage has experienced an anomaly" Real big help, huh?

    Anyway, nice try, Virgin Orbit. SpaceX, let's do a WDR! Full throttle!!