Boris Johnson has raised eyebrows after arriving for the G7 Summit in a U.S. Presidential-style bomber jacket with the words Prime Minister embroidered on the front, along with the Virgin logo.
Social media users were quick to question why Mr Johnson appeared to be ‘sponsored by Virgin’ as he made a trip to the company’s rocket, LauncherOne, at the Spaceport at Newquay Airport, Cornwall, yesterday.
The choice of jacket was made even more conspicuous by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ matching garb, as he accompanied the PM on the visit ahead of Friday’s G7 summit.
Dr Russ Jackson tweeted: ‘The Prime Minister ‘sponsored by Virgin’? WTAF’.
David Taylor tweeted: ‘Boris and Co. are building up a good collection of branded merch.’
Boris Johnson has raised eyebrows after arriving for the G7 Summit in a U.S. Presidential-style bomber jacket with the words Prime Minister embroidered on the front, along with Virgin logo
A close up of the bomber jacket’s embroidery, which social media users have said makes the PM look like he is ‘sponsored by Virgin’
Priti Patel during a National Crime Agency operation in east London, May 2021
While Nick Stevens wrote: ‘Of all the things I might have seen today, a photo of Boris Bloody Johnson, with ‘Virgin’ on his scruffy lapel was never on my bingo card.’
Priti Patel was the first minister to be seen sporting her own branded ‘merchandise’, with social media users criticising her choice to wear a coat with the words home secretary embroidered onto a lapel as she attended a raid on immigrants living at an address in east London in May this year.
Mr Johnson’s bomber jacket also echoes a coat worn by US president Donald Trump and his predecessors, who were each presented with a green US Navy flight jacket with their name and ‘Commander-in-Chief’ written on it.
Similar jackets were worn by Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush, who wore one during a summit with then prime minister Tony Blair.
It is not known if Johnson will wear the jacket to greet Mr Biden today, who he is scheduled to have face-to-face talks with – the first time the two men will have met in person – before the G7 Summit formally gets underway on Friday.
Social media users were quick to question why Mr Johnson appeared to be ‘sponsored by Virgin’
Following Mr Johnson’s visit to the spaceport Virgin Orbit tweeted: ‘We were honored to join our friends from @SpaceCornwall & @spacegovuk to host Prime Minister @BorisJohnson , Sec’t of Transport @grantshapps , & MP @stevedouble today in Spaceport Cornwall, site of the #G7Summit. Together, we’re closer than ever to bringing launch to Britain.’
The Virgin Orbit LauncherOne is poised to bring the first satellite launch to Britain within the next year or two, with the UK Space Agency investing £7.8m into the development of Spaceport Cornwall.
In the next few years the UK’s space industry could be set for take-off, as Spaceport Cornwall has been named a ‘favourable potential return location’ for future missions.
An agreement has been signed between the UK’s horizontal launch site, which is based at Cornwall Airport in Newquay and Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Sierra Space, located in the US.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson accompanied bt the the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as they view the LauncherOne at the Spaceport at Newquay Airport
The Virgin Orbit LauncherOne is poised to bring the first satellite launch to Britain within the next year or two
This memorandum of understanding (MoU) covers exploration of future collaboration opportunities and explains that the two companies have a ‘shared vision to democratise space’ – i.e. participating by lowering the cost of access to space.
But the move could also be beneficial for the environment.
Both companies are focused on communicating the vital role satellites can play in combating global climate challenges that world leaders are set to discuss at the G7 summit in Cornwall this week.
The signing of the MoU follows discussions between the two companies over the past two years, as well as the completion of the concept of operations (CONOPS) undertaken by Sierra Space regarding the suitability of Spaceport Cornwall to be a return location for its runway landing, Dream Chaser.
In an exciting advancement for the UK space industry, the study found Spaceport Cornwall to be a top candidate – and this is likely to lead to a more detailed landing site study ahead of Cornwall being named a planned return location for future missions.
‘We are delighted to welcome representatives from Sierra Space to Cornwall during the G7 Summit, and to announce the signing of the MoU,’ said Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport Cornwall.
‘Spaceport Cornwall is a multi-user spaceport and it’s a great achievement to add an additional launch/re-entry partner to our consortium a year ahead of first launch from the site in 2022.
‘Satellite technology offers so much hope in combating many of the environmental challenges being discussed here this week, and we’re proud to be able to showcase the part Cornwall, and the UK is playing.’
‘Sierra Space envisions launching and landing a fleet of Dream Chasers around the world,’ added Fatih Ozmen, CEO and owner of SNC.
‘Spaceport Cornwall is an excellent partnership to assist in our endeavour to make space travel globally accessible.’
Dream Chaser is designed to launch from a variety of vertical vehicles to low-Earth orbit, and return to a spaceport or airport runway similar to any large commercial aeroplane.
The system is designed for multiple reuse, reportedly making it more sustainable.
Sierra Space is a world-leading space company, with more than 30 years of spaceflight heritage and more than 500 space missions supported.
Collaborating with Sierra Space as a return location will not only generate further economic growth through Spaceport Cornwall, but is also set to create demand in the local supply chain for post-mission services.
Ian Annett, deputy chief executive of UK Space Agency, called it an ‘exciting collaboration’, enabled by funding from the UK Space Agency.
He added: ‘As the UK builds back greener, the space sector will help us predict, mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
‘Dream Chaser is a sustainable concept that will bring economic benefits to the UK, create skilled jobs in the sector and ensure the UK thrives in the commercial space age.’
‘The signing of this MoU is another significant step forward for Spaceport Cornwall in the year leading up to the first launch,’ said Councillor Steve Rushworth from Cornwall Council.
‘Not only will this lead to further diversification of Cornwall Airport Newquay, the economic benefit of a second partner will be wide reaching – increasing productivity and creating more job roles in what will be a multi-user spaceport.’