Watch the skies | 

Warning issued over risk of rocket debris falling over Irish coast tonight

The precautionary warning comes into effect at 10pm and is valid until 1am

Cosmic Girl, a specially adapted 747 aircraft that carries a rocket at Spaceport Cornwall, at Cornwall Airport in Newquay. Picture date: Tuesday November 8, 2022.© PA


Mariners and fishers living in Cork and Kerry have been warned of the risk of rocket debris falling from the sky tonight.

The precautionary warning, issued by the Department of Transport, comes into effect at 10pm and is valid until 1am.

It is in connection with a mid-air launch of a satellite-carrying rocket from Virgin Orbit.

The rocket will be launched by Virgin Orbit, a commercial company set up by Richard Branson to carry satellites into space.

At around 10pm it will be flown under the wing of a 747-jet nicknamed Cosmic Girl from Cornwall in England.

Aviation authorities have also issued warning information for airlines that use the area.

The marine notice issued by the Department of Transport said the rocket launch vehicle will be deployed by air over water near the Southern Coast of Ireland.

It said that if the launch goes as planned there will be no debris, but if a mishap occurred there is potential for rocket debris falling, so the request to all mariners is to avoid the area from 10pm until 1am.

Irish viewers keen to witness the spectacle may get a glimpse from Cork or Kerry if they look to the southern horizon just after launch.

The rocket should be visible for around 60 seconds from Ireland and after that it will be viewable west of France and on down west of Spain.

Virgin Orbit is a commercial company that flies satellites into space for commercial and state customers. It has successfully launched 33 satellites over five recent missions.

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