Space Commerce

Virgin Orbit Almost Makes It There

By Keith Cowing
January 9, 2023
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Virgin Orbit Almost Makes It There
Start Me Up first stage engine firing

What seemed to be a successful launch into orbit this evening from Spaceport Cornwall suddenly turned out to be a major disappointment.

After a second stage burn @VirginOrbit tweeted “LauncherOne has once again successfully reached Earth orbit! 🚀 Our mission isn’t over yet, but our congratulations to the people of the UK! This is already the first-ever orbital mission from British soil – an enormous achievement by @spacegovuk and their partners in government!” Update: This tweet has since been deleted and replaced with another tweet saying “As we find out more, we’re removing our previous tweet about reaching orbit. We’ll share more info when we can.”

Less than 30 minutes later @VirginOrbit tweeted “We appear to have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit. We are evaluating the information.”

The “StartMeUp” mission was touted as a major first for the UK and Europe.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.