Virgin Orbit: Premature shutdown behind rocket launch fail

Source: KIRO 7 News

“Virgin Orbit said Thursday its first attempt to launch satellites into orbit from the U.K. failed after its rocket’s upper stage prematurely shut down. The U.S.-based company used a modified Boeing 747 plane to carry one of its rockets from Cornwall in southwestern England over the Atlantic Ocean on Monday. The plane released the rocket, which carried nine small satellites, but the rocket failed to reach orbit. In a statement Thursday, Virgin Orbit said initial data indicated that the first stage of the rocket performed as expected. It said the rocket reached space altitudes, and that stage separation and ignition of the upper stage occurred in line with the mission plan. But it said that later in the mission, at an altitude of approximately 180 kilometers (112 miles), ‘the upper stage experienced an anomaly. This anomaly prematurely ended the first burn of the upper stage,’ the company said.” (01/12/23)