What ought to have been a historic second for the UK resulted in failure final evening after an undisclosed “anomaly” prevented the nation’s satellite tv for pc mission from reaching orbit. The Virgin Orbit “Start Me Up” mission was the first-ever rocket launched from British soil.
The first stage of the mission proved profitable — Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl (a transformed Boeing 747 appearing as a service plane) took off from Spaceport Cornwell on January ninth as deliberate and released the LauncherOne rocket over the Atlantic Ocean at 11:11 PM GMT (6:11 PM ET). According to the stay Virgin Orbit mission updates on Twitter, the LauncherOne rocket skilled a profitable stage separation and second-stage engine ignition.
Virgin One initially tweeted “LauncherOne has … successfully reached Earth orbit! Our mission isn’t over yet, but our congratulations to the people of the UK! This is already the first-ever orbital mission from British soil – an enormous achievement.” This tweet was later deleted and changed with an replace saying that an anomaly had prevented the rocket from reaching orbit.
The LauncherOne rocket was carrying a payload of 9 satellites, the primary to be manufactured in Wales. These satellites weren’t launched and had been misplaced alongside the LauncherOne rocket. Cosmic Girl and its crew safely returned to Spaceport Cornwall. “It’s just absolutely devastating, and we put our hearts and soul into this” mentioned Melissa Thorpe, the top of Spaceport Cornwall in an announcement to The Guardian. “The next time we go it will be even better.”
This is the primary LauncherOne mission to fall wanting delivering its payloads out of 5 launch makes an attempt. Its first check flight in May 2020 additionally suffered an anomaly whereas carrying a weighted dummy payload as follow for precise buyer satellites.
Matt Archer, Commercial Space Director on the UK Space Agency, said in an official statement that the company might be working with Virgin One to analyze what brought on the anomaly within the coming days and weeks. “We will work tirelessly to understand the nature of the failure, make corrective actions, and return to orbit as soon as we have completed a full investigation and mission assurance process.”
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