The Start Me Up mission, named after the hit Rolling Stones song, also marks Virgin Orbit’s first international mission.
Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. tried to make history on Monday with its first orbital launch from British soil, but its rocket encountered an “unusual problem” and failed to reach orbit.
A Boeing Co aircraft. The modified (BA) 747 nicknamed Space Girl took off from Cornwall Spaceport in southwest England carrying Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne (VORB) rocket under its left wing.
More than an hour after takeoff, LauncherOne crashed from Cosmic Girl as the plane hovered over the Atlantic Ocean off the southwest coast of Ireland. The rocket then activates its first stage engine, which begins its journey into low Earth orbit to deploy a payload of nine satellites. Watch now: UK is set to make history with its first launch into orbit on Monday.
The company later said it had deleted its previous tweet about a successful orbital approach.
LauncherOne arrived in space about an hour and 16 minutes after the mission, according to a tweet from Virgin Orbit. However, nearly 30 minutes later, Virgin Orbit tweeted that the mission had hit a snag. The company said in a tweet: “We appear to have an anomaly preventing us from approaching orbit. “We are evaluating the information.”
Shares of Virgin Orbit fell 24% in extended trading on Monday. The Start Me Up mission, named after the hit Rolling Stones song, marks Virgin Orbit’s first international mission and first commercial launch from Western Europe.
- As historic UK space launch experiences ‘anomaly’ and fails to enter orbit, Virgin Orbit shares plunge
- Check all news and articles from the latest Space news updates.