A Boeing Co. 747, named Cosmic Girl, took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on Monday at 11:56 a.m. Pacific Time, carrying beneath it Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket over the Pacific Ocean. About an hour later, the plane released the rocket in what Virgin Orbit called a “clean” release. Three minutes later, the company said the mission had ended shortly into the flight.
LauncherOne maintained stability after release, and we ignited our first stage engine, NewtonThree. An anomaly then occurred early in first stage flight. We'll learn more as our engineers analyze the mountain of data we collected today.— Virgin Orbit (@Virgin_Orbit) May 25, 2020
There have been more than 20 previous tests, including one earlier this year carrying the rocket, but this was meant to be the first time LauncherOne had been ignited. Earlier this week, Virgin Orbit described Monday’s test as “the apex of a five-year-long development program.”
“We’ve confirmed a clean release from the aircraft. However, the mission terminated shortly into the flight,” the company tweeted Monday. “Cosmic Girl and our flight crew are safe and returning to base.” (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg website.