Virgin Orbit announces bad news during first orbital launch from the UK

Virgin Orbit announced that its first-ever orbital mission launched from the UK had suffered an anomaly resulting in the loss of nine satellites.

1 minute & 9 seconds read time

Virgin Orbit's "Start Me Up" mission failed to reach orbit on Monday, January 9th, 2023, as the company informed the public over a webcast, resulting in the loss of nine satellites.

Virgin Orbit announces bad news during first orbital launch from the UK 02

The mission, which was the company's sixth orbital flight, was launched from Spaceport Cornwall in the United Kingdom, using the company's carrier plane called Cosmic Girl. The LauncherOne rocket was dropped from the carrier plane at 6:09 p.m. EST (2309 GMT), while the plane was off Ireland's southwest coast, but suffered an anomaly which prevented it from reaching orbit.

The lost payloads included an in-orbit manufacturing experiment from the U.K. company Space Forge, several U.K. defense cubesats, and an experimental global navigation satellite co-funded by the European Space Agency. This was an important mission for Virgin Orbit as it marked the first time the company used Spaceport Cornwall and opened a new launch chapter for the company.

Virgin Orbit announces bad news during first orbital launch from the UK 02

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart stated that the company may return to Spaceport Cornwall later this year and is looking at other locations worldwide.

"It appears that LauncherOne has suffered an anomaly, which will prevent us from making orbit this mission," Virgin Orbit's Chris Relf, director of systems engineering and verification.

"We're excited about the future and coming back, maybe as soon as later this year, to launch again and hopefully get a rhythm going. We want to be a part of the fabric of the space community here in the U.K. as well as globally. That's our objective as a company," said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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