Rocket debris warning for boats off the coast of Ireland

The Irish government has warned all boats to avoid the area off the coast of Ireland during the Virgin Orbit space launch.

He warned of the low probability of rocket debris falling from a height if something went wrong during an attempt to launch the rocket over the Atlantic.

An area of ​​the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of counties Kerry and Cork has been declared a “Maritime Danger Zone”.

The warning goes into effect on Monday at 22:00 local time.

The Virgin Orbit mission is due to launch from Cornwall, England, on Monday evening.

This is the first ever orbital launch from British soil and, if successful, will be a milestone for the UK space industry.

The rocket is attached to a modified 747 jumbo jet owned by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who also founded the American company Virgin Orbit.

The jet will rise to an altitude of 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and then launch a rocket at a designated launch zone.

If the rocket is successfully launched, nine shoebox-sized satellites will be launched into orbit more than 500 km above the Earth.

“If the launch attempt goes ahead as planned, no debris will enter the marine hazard area,” the Irish government has warned.

“However, there is a low probability that the vehicle will produce dangerous debris in the event of a mishap.”

Aerial map of the hazard area during rocket launch

Aerial map of the hazard area during rocket launch

A maritime notice has been issued by the Department of Transportation to all seafarers.

Seafarers were also advised to report any debris or contamination that may result from a take-off mishap.

According to BBC science correspondent Jonathan Amos, it will take around an hour to travel by jet from Newquay Airport in Cornwall to the take-off area. The rocket will then head south as it gains altitude.

“It will miss the coast of Spain and Portugal,” he told Good Morning Ulster.

“It will rise high into the sky and circle the Earth, pass Antarctica, cross over and fall from these nine satellites high above the planet.”

The rocket’s payload contains “a combination of satellites,” both military and civilian, journalist and commentator Leo Enright said on the same show.

Mr Enright said the Virgin Orbit mission requires approval from the Irish government.

“Of course they needed permission from the Irish because they take off from Irish controlled airspace.

“But they also needed permission from the Portuguese, because the rocket engine will fall into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal.”

He added: “It’s going to be quite exciting, quite dramatic.”

However, the space enthusiast said he was worried the weather could force the operation to be postponed.

“I’m looking at the weather charts for tonight right now and there’s a big front – what a surprise – it’s moving,” Enright said.

“They’re about to get up and leave before it reaches what they call the race track – the crate they need to be in to launch this satellite – but don’t be too surprised if there is a delay.”

The sea warning was issued between 10pm on Monday and 01:00am on Tuesday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *