Virgin Orbit’s first launch demo flight ends abruptly after rocket release

Virgin Orbit’s first launch demo flight ends abruptly after rocket release

Sponsored Links

Virgin Orbit demo flight enroute to the 'racetrack'

Virgin Orbit, Twitter

Virgin Orbit’s first launch demonstration flight has ended in a very unceremonious fashion. The spaceflight firm reported a “clean release” of LauncherOne from the Cosmic Girl host aircraft, but the rocket’s journey “terminated shortly into the flight.” In other words, LauncherOne didn’t have a realistic chance of reaching orbit.

The company had warned that the flight might not end well. This was the first time anyone had lit up a liquid-fuelled rocket at high altitude in a horizontal position, and it wasn’t clear if the rocket would last more than a brief moment.

The setback suggests it will be a while before Virgin can achieve its goal of carrying rockets into orbit on a regular basis. However, that’s why the launch demo took place — this is to show what went wrong and, ideally, refine the system so that it properly in subsequent flights. The challenge is the level of effort needed. It’s not clear if Virgin will only require slight tweaks, or if this is just the first step in a very long process.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something one of these links, we may earn affiliate commission.






Go to Source

Author: {authorlink} Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics