The first attempt to launch a satellite from the UK failed just before midnight yesterday when launch company Virgin Orbit reported an “anomaly” that prevented the rocket from reaching orbit.
The “Start Me Up” mission took off from the runway at Cornwall Newquay Airport with Virgin’s LauncherOne rocket carried under the wing of a modified Boeing 747 and later released over the Atlantic Ocean.
However, shortly before midnight, a representative of Virgin Orbit announced in a live broadcast that the rocket had suffered an “anomaly” that caused it to fail to reach orbit.
– We seem to have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit. We are evaluating the information – they announced from Virgin Orbit.
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The rocket was supposed to ignite its engine at a height of about ten thousand kilometers above the Atlantic and take nine small satellites, with various civil and defense applications, into Earth’s orbit.
— Virgin (@Virgin) January 9, 2023
Incidentally, the take-off of the Boeing 747 with a rocket in Newquay around 22:15 hours was watched by hundreds of people, while the song “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones, after which the mission was named, blared from the speakers.
It was supposed to be the first time that satellites were launched from Europe.