BREAKING: Historic Virgin Orbit UK space launch aborted mid-flight

Image of 'Cosmic Girl'. Credit: [email protected]

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit space mission using ‘Cosmic Girl’ to fire satellites from the LauncherOne rocket has been aborted,

 

Tuesday, January 10 at 01.10am

The historic Virgin Orbit space flight that was due to release satellites from the LauncherOne rocket fired from Sir Richard Branson’s ‘Cosmic Girl’ jet has been aborted mid-flight.

A tweet from Virgin Orbit read: “We appear to have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit. We are evaluating the information”.

Tuesday, January 10 at 00.02am

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit company made history this evening, Monday, January, as ‘Cosmic Girl’ blasted off from Cornwall Airport Newquay. Just after 10pm local time, the modified Boeing 747 jet became the first orbital space launch to take place in western Europe, and more specifically, from British soil.

Technical and regulatory issues caused the original launch before Christmas to be delayed, but tonight, the former Virgin Atlantic jet finally took off into space from Spaceport Cornwall, carrying the LauncherOne rocket. The historic event marks a new era of space exploration for the UK.

Around 35,000ft (10,700 metres) above the Atlantic, ‘Cosmic Girl’ will release the 21-metre (70ft) LauncherOne rocket which is capable of travelling at a speed of up to 28,162 km/h (17,500mph).  The rocket contains nine small satellites that will subsequently be sent into orbit.

They will be the first to ever be launched into space from Europe. Previously, satellites had to be sent to foreign locations to be launched. After releasing its cargo, the modified passenger jet will return to its base in Cornwall, scheduled for around midnight tonight.

Speaking prior to the launch, Dan Hart, the Virgin Orbit boss, commented: “Space launch is a very serious business and we’ll be looking at integrating all the information about the system, about the weather, about the range”.

Boasting a direct flight path out into the Atlantic, Cornwall Airport Newquay was deemed the perfect location for what became known as Spaceport Cornwall. Due to its RAF base, the facility also has one of the longest runways of any regional UK airport.

Another of its benefits is the fact that compared to most of the UK’s other airports, Cornwall has a low civilian population in the immediate vicinity.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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