UK's Rocket Launch into Space Ends in Failure
An attempt to launch the first rocket into orbit from UK soil ended in failure on Tuesday, with scientists reporting an "anomaly" as it neared its goal.
"We appear to have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit. We are evaluating the information," tweeted Virgin Orbit, organizer of the mission. After taking off from Cornwall, the Virgin Orbit plane flew to 35,000 ft over the Atlantic Ocean where it jettisoned the rocket containing nine small satellites towards space.
It is understood that LauncherOne encountered problems during its second stage after releasing from Cosmic Girl.
The rocket dropped from the aircraft 35,000 ft above the Atlantic, off Ireland's southern coast, just before 11.15 pm, reported Sky News.
The first stage - which sees the spacecraft burst into life after about four seconds before accelerating to more than 8,000 miles per hour - appeared to proceed accordingly.
A short while later, the second stage was supposed to eject the nine onboard satellites into orbit - and this is the vital moment that the so far undefined "anomaly" is thought to have occurred.
Virgin Orbit reported the issue around half an hour after the rocket dropped from the plane.
"We're waiting for the rocket to coast halfway around Earth, deploy its payload, and downlink telemetry. Even when you're moving ~20,000 miles per hour, it takes a while to circle our planet!" tweeted Virgin Orbit.
While engineers tried to establish what went wrong, the plane returned to Spaceport Cornwall safely.
Dubbed Cosmic Girl, the plane took off on Monday night from Cornwall Airport with hundreds of members of the public watching and over 75,000 viewing a live stream of the event.
The seaside town of Newquay played host to history, as an orbital rocket was blasted into space from UK soil for the first time. The LauncherOne craft was taken skyward under the wing of an old Boeing 747, but fell short in its quest to deploy satellites into orbit, reported Sky News.
There was raucous applause and cheering among the 2,000 lucky ticket-holders in attendance in Newquay when the former Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 took off at just gone 10 pm.
Named in tribute to the Rolling Stones' 1981 hit, the mission involved a repurposed Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft and Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket.
It was originally hoped the launch could take place before Christmas but owing to technical and regulatory issues it had to be pushed into 2023.
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