Virgin Orbit reveals reason for rocket failure

Virgin Orbit has released more details about the failed Start Me Up mission which involved Boeing 747-400, N744VG (c/n 32745), named Cosmic Girl, on Monday (January 9).

The aircraft successfully released the LauncherOne rocket after departing from Cornwall Airport Newquay and the first stage of the rocket’s engine performed as expected and separated correctly, followed by the ignition of the upper stage.

However, Virgin Orbit revealed that later in the mission, at an altitude of approximately 111 miles (180km), the upper stage experienced an “anomaly”. This problem prematurely stopped the first burn of the upper stage, ending the mission. The rocket’s components and payload then fell back to Earth without ever achieving orbit.


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