Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. tried to make history Monday with the first space launch from British soil, but its rocket suffered an anomaly and didn't reach orbit.
A modified Boeing Co. BA, 747 aircraft dubbed Cosmic Girl took off from Spaceport Cornwall in southwestern England with Virgin Orbit's VORB, air-launched LauncherOne rocket under its left wing.
LauncherOne was dropped from Cosmic Girl more than an hour after takeoff when the plane was high above the Atlantic Ocean off the southwestern coast of Ireland. The rocket fired its stage-one engine, starting what was expected to be a journey into low Earth orbit to deploy its payload of nine satellites. U.K. set to make history with the first-ever space launch on Monday LauncherOne reached space about an hour and 16 minutes into the mission, according to a tweet from Virgin Orbit. The mission had run into difficulties almost 30 minutes later, according to Virgin Orbit. The company said that we appear to have an anomaly that prevented us from reaching orbit. We are evaluating the information. The company said it was deleting its earlier tweet about successfully reaching the moon. The Start Me Up mission, named after the hit Rolling Stones song, was the first international mission for Virgin Orbit and the first commercial launch from Western Europe.