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Virgin Orbit Fails To Launch Rocket Into Space On First Attempt

Virgin Orbit Fails To Launch Rocket Into Space On First Attempt

More test flights are planned for the future

Dominic Smithers

Dominic Smithers

Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit failed to send a rocket into space following a test launch yesterday (25 May).

During its first launch, a Boeing 747 released the rocket over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.

At first, everything seemed to be going according to plan, with all 'pre-launch' procedures' proving to be a success.

However, despite the LauncherOne rocket lighting its booster engine on cue after being released from the carrier aircraft, an 'anomaly' occurred and the mission was aborted.

According to Virgin, the Cosmic Girl carrier and all of the crew on board landed safely at Mojave Air and Space Port.

The first flight test had to be aborted.
Virgin Orbit

Speaking about the mission, Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said it was all part of the process and that he was happy with the progress the team had made on the project.

He said: "Our team performed their pre-launch and flight operations with incredible skill today. Test flights are instrumented to yield data and we now have a treasure trove of that.

"We accomplished many of the goals we set for ourselves, though not as many as we would have liked.

"Nevertheless, we took a big step forward today. Our engineers are already poring through the data. Our next rocket is waiting. We will learn, adjust and begin preparing for our next test, which is coming up soon."

But despite the unsuccessful mission, Virgin still has plenty more flights in the pipeline, with its next rocket now in the final stages of integration at its Long Beach manufacturing facility.

More test rockets are planned for the future.
PA

Branson's firm also revealed that there are another half-dozen rockets on track for future missions.

It's believe that by preparing multiple rockets Virgin Orbit will be in a better position to make faster progress on its plans for an efficient launching system.

Last year, the UK Space Agency confirmed that it was looking into building Europe's first ever spaceport in Cornwall.

At the time it was revealed that Virgin Orbit signed an agreement to use 'Spaceport Cornwall' to operate its LauncherOne system and Cosmic Girl craft.

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said: "We are very proud to play a role in bringing space launch back to Britain - with a revolutionary new level of flexibility and responsiveness."

Leader of Cornwall Council, Julian German, added: "Cornwall is the birthplace of innovation and technology and space is a key part of a 21st century economy.

"With assets like Spaceport Cornwall, world-class mission control facilities at Goonhilly Earth Station and superb digital connectivity, Cornwall can play a vital role in the growth of the global space economy."

Featured Image Credit: PA