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VIrgin Orbit misses its target

On the evening of January 9th, the first UK attempt to launch a rocket to space failed. An anomaly in the first stage led to the destruction of the rocket that carried nine small satellites. Most of the satellites are UK projects, notably in defence (AMBER 1 /  Prometheus 2A, 2B / CIRCE 1, 2 /  DOVER /  ForgeStar 0 ), the first satellite from Oman AMAN) and one from Poland STORK 6). The specificty of Virgin Orbit as seen on the image is that the rocket is launched from a modified Boeing 747 at an altitude of around 30000 feet.

A video of the reentry of the recket filmed from the Canary Islands can be seen here from the site.

A good article on the subject can be read here on the site. This site provides excellent information on all topics related to tech via a daily newsletter.

As a comment, the Virgin Orbit concept is not new and was commercialized in the 90s by a (defunct now) US company Orbital Sciences Corporation. OSC developped a rocket called the Pegasus launched from a Lockheed L-1011 aircraft. The capacity was up to 1000 pounds and more than 30 missions were carried out. Notably, OSC launched the first generation of Orbcomm satellites. The program was shelved when the company was purchased, another side effect of capitalism… And 30 years after, when all competencies in this matter have been lost, Virgin Orbit starts all over again …

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