(ORDO NEWS) — The first attempt to put satellites into orbit from the UK ended in failure.
The American company Virgin Orbit made its first international launch on Monday evening local time. The company used a modified jet to launch one of its missiles.
The plane took off from Cornwall in the southwest of England.
Virgin Orbit, founded by British transport and telecommunications magnate Richard Branson, has previously made four similar launches from California.
Hundreds of people gathered for the launch in Cornwall cheered for a converted Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft dubbed Cosmic Girl.
The plane took off and about an hour into the flight fired a rocket carrying nine small satellites.
It happened at an altitude of about 10,000 meters above the Atlantic Ocean south of Ireland. Approximately two hours after takeoff, the company reported an anomaly that prevented the orbit.
The plane returned to Cornwall, and the rocket and satellites were destroyed.
“It looks like a technical glitch has prevented us from reaching our final orbit,” Virgin Orbit chief executive Dan Hart said in a statement.
“While we are very proud of the many things we have successfully accomplished on this mission, we remember that we failed to provide our customers with the launch service they deserve.”
The mission was the result of a collaboration between the UK Space Agency, the Royal Air Force, Virgin Orbit and Cornwall Council.
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