Virgin Orbit UK has been awarded £7.35m ($9.4m) in funding to support the horizontal launch of small satellites from Cornwall Airport Newquay.

Virgin Orbit will use the financing from the UK Space Agency for advanced ground support equipment development and produce crucial equipment in the UK, as well as mission planning.

Depending on the regulatory approvals, the company has planned to launch its first satellite from Spaceport Cornwall early next year.

A horizontal launch spaceport at Cornwall Airport Newquay is expected to generate 150 jobs.

The Cornwall Council will also provide funding for spaceport infrastructure while Virgin Orbit will contribute around £2.5m to the project.

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said: “We’re tremendously excited to be supporting the UK Space Agency and Cornwall Council by bringing space launch to the UK.

“By establishing a strong local hub for our launch system, this joint project will boost UK participation in a fast-growing global space economy while also providing direct, ready, and responsive access to space for government missions.”

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Virgin Orbit is planning to use a modified Boeing 747 jet to carry its LauncherOne system, which will be operated from Cornwall Airport Newquay. However, the proposal is still subject to regulatory approvals from the US and the UK.

The grant is part of a £20m ($25.7m) package from Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

The latest funding is an addition to £300,000 grant from the UK Space Agency to help Cornwall achieve its desire to become the hub for future flight technologies.

Earlier this year, the UK Space Agency invested £2m ($2.53m) in funding for future spaceports to support small satellite launch plans and sub-orbital flight.