In the nick of time, on 5 November, before UK General Election rules would prevent major government funding announcements, the UK Government announced that it would provide £7.35 million (US$9.5 million) for “spaceport” infrastructure changes at Newquay airport in Cornwall.

This funding is in the form of a straight grant to Virgin Orbit’s UK arm, which hopes to operate a horizontally launched LauncherOne rocket along with its Boeing 747-400 carrier aircraft from there. The effort is separate to the “vertical launch” spaceport effort in Sutherland, Scotland.

Artist’s impression of Virgin Orbit’s Boeing 747-400/LauncherOne combination operating from Newquay spaceport. Courtesy: UK Space Agency