The first ever UK space flight failed to reach orbit

Virgin Orbit’s “Start Me Up”, historic mission was launched from Spaceport Cornwell on January 9th as plannedHowever, it failed to reach orbit and ended up in failure. Everything went smoothly at the beginning, according to the company’s tweets. Virgin Orbit confirmed LauncherOne’s safe separation from Cosmic Girl its carrier aircraft and the incendiary of its NewtonThree first-stage rocket engine. The launch also appeared to have been successful, with Virgin Orbit tweeting about NewtonFour’s ignition. LauncherOne is now officially in Space! The tweet that followed. reads.

LauncherOne’s upperstage was shut down, and it was supposed to coast halfway across the planet before deploying its payload. As Ars Technica According to reports, the rocket and its payload satellites successfully reached orbit. However, the company removed that tweet and replaced with an announcement that stated that an anomaly prevented it from reaching orbit as planned. According to ReutersA graphic it saw on the launch’s video feed revealed that the mission had reached second stage cutoff, but was stopped just a few hours later.

Matt Archer, Commercial Space Director for the UK Space Agency, stated that the government and other entities including the company will investigate the incident over the next few days. Archer said that the second phase suffered from a “technical anomaly” and did not reach the required orbit. Although it is not clear what the investigation will entail, Virgin Orbit has promised to provide more information as soon as possible. Cosmic Girl, its crew, was able to safely return to Spaceport Cornwall.

The payload satellites were provided by seven government and commercial customers. They include a UK/US joint project called CIRCE, (Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment), as well as two CubeSats that will be used by the UK Ministry of Defense’s Prometheus-2 Initiative. Ars This failure could have huge consequences for the company which is having trouble launching enough missions to make ends meet. “Start Me Up”, not only was the first orbital flight from UK soil, but it also marked the first international Virgin Orbit launch and the first commercial launch out of Western Europe. It could have been a major success for the company, and it would have shown potential customers its capabilities.

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