(ORDO NEWS) — The first launch of a rocket called LauncherOne, a company known as Virgin Orbit, failed after a certain “anomaly” arose immediately after launch.
Virgin Orbit, owned by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, intends to become Britain’s leading private space company. The launch plan was to launch the LauncherOne unmanned rocket into space and deliver a “test payload” to orbit, which would then collect some data and soon return to Earth.
As it turned out, shortly after the launch, things went not so smoothly due to some kind of “anomaly”, at least as the company’s message on Twitter said. Virgin Orbit did not provide more details about what this anomaly was, but said that it occurred “at the beginning of the first stage of the flight.”
It was also not immediately clear what happened to the rocket itself. According to the plan, the LauncherOne airliner does not take off from the ground, its initial launch is carried out by an adapted Virgin Boeing 747 aircraft, capable of taking off for tens of thousands of kilometers. At altitude, the rocket activates and completes the remainder of the path.
All Virgin Orbit confirmed was that the flight crew and Cosmic Girl carrier aircraft returned safely to the base after an unsuccessful launch.
If everything went well, then the launch would be the first in the world in terms of its organization. Representatives of the company said earlier that never before had an orbital-class rocket operating on liquid fuel reached space when launched horizontally from an airplane.
A Virgin Orbit statement immediately before launch says the mission had an approximately 50 percent chance of success:
“We remember that for the government and the companies that preceded us in developing space flight systems, the first flights statistically failed in about half the cases.”
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