(CNN) – At the far southwestern tip of England, dangling into the Atlantic, the remote region of Cornwall rarely feels like the center of the world.But recently locals have been feeling tantalizingly close as they’ve watched a very special plane fly low overhead, taking off from the runway at little Newquay Airport – the 29th biggest airport in the UK – and circling the skies above the coast before touching back down.This isn’t just any plane.
Nor is it a normal Boeing 747, as it appears from the ground. In fact, it’s the “Queen of the Skies” repurposed for the space race, making trial flights before it takes part in the United Kingdom’s first orbital space launch next month.
And it will be taking off from Spaceport Cornwall, which shares the airport’s 1.7-mile regular runway.Marc Andrew, from nearby Newquay, traveled to the spaceport after work to see the aircraft land this week.“It was amazing to watch, and will be a nice bit of history to tell my little boy when he’s older,” he told CNN.
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