United Kingdom: Failure of a historic space mission – I24NEWS

Had the mission been successful, the UK would have been one of nine countries capable of launching spacecraft into Earth orbit.

An attempt to launch the first rocket from British soil into orbit failed on Tuesday, with scientists reporting an “anomaly” as it neared its target. A modified Virgin Orbit Boeing 747 called the “Cosmic Girl”, carrying the rocket, lifted off from a launch site in Cornwall, south-west England. The rocket then separated from the aircraft and ignited as planned at an altitude of 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, south of Ireland.

But, in a series of tweets, as the rocket was due to go into orbit and ditch its nine satellites, Virgin Orbit said: “It appears we have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit. We are in the process of evaluating the data.” The device finally returned to the launch base, without having managed to reach the planned orbit.

This launch was the first from British soil. Previously, UK-produced satellites had to be put into orbit via spaceports abroad. Had the mission been successful, the UK would have been one of nine countries capable of launching spacecraft into Earth orbit.

Virgin Orbit, partly owned by British billionaire Richard Branson, planned to deploy nine small satellites into low-Earth orbit on its first mission outside its US base.

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