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The first-ever space launch from the UK failed - the Virgin Orbit rocket fell.

Published: 2023-01-10

The first space launch from the UK, which was also the first launch from Europe (not counting Russia), was unsuccessful - Virgin Orbit, which tried to launch nine satellites into space using an air-launched rocket, failed. The fall of the rocket led to extremely unfavorable consequences for the business - the company's shares fell significantly in price.

The failure of the mission, which was supposed to open the UK the door to the club of space powers capable of launching space from their territory, led to the fact that shares of Virgin Orbit after the close of the official exchange session fell by 25% on Monday.

A specially modified Boeing 747, dubbed Cosmic Girl, took off from Cornwall at 10:02 p.m. local time on a LauncherOne rocket. At an altitude of more than 10 thousand meters at 02:09 Moscow time, when the plane was over the southwestern coast of Ireland, the rocket successfully separated from the plane and turned on the main engine. After 3.5 minutes, the first stage, having completed its work, successfully separated. Further, during the flight of the second stage, the engine of which was supposed to work for about 5 minutes, an “unknown anomaly” occurred, which led to the failure of the mission. The incident is being investigated.

Curiously, Virgin Orbit first posted a tweet announcing the successful launch into orbit. It was later removed and information about the incident was presented.

To date, this is the company's sixth attempt to launch its rockets into orbit and the second failure. So far, the UK has not managed to become a full-fledged independent space power - all successful Virgin launches have been carried out from the Mojave Desert in California.