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Virgin Orbit’s first orbital launch from the UK was supposed to be a major milestone for the company and the region, but it may have been derailed by around $100 in components.according to space newsVirgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart told the SmallSat symposium in Mountain View, Calif., that evidence so far indicates that the rocket’s second stage engine filters are coming off and causing problems. clarified.
As you may recall, the company launched its historic “Start Me Up” mission from its spaceport in Cornwall on January 9th, and at first things seemed to be going well. Virgin’s LauncherOne rocket was able to separate from its carrier aircraft, and the company reported successful stage separation. But it soon became clear that the rocket had not been put into orbit as planned. “[The rocket’s] An anomaly occurred in the upper level,” a company spokesperson said. Engadget At the time, it “prematurely ended the first burn of the upper stage.” They added: “This event ended the mission and the rocket components and payload fell to Earth within the approved safety pathway without reaching orbit.”
The LauncherOne rocket for the mission carried satellites from seven customers, including government agencies. One of its payloads was a joint project called CIRCE (Cooperative Ionosphere Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment) between the UK Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and the US Naval Research Laboratory. Virgin Orbit promised to fully investigate the root cause of the anomaly, but did not wait for the results to announce the investigation. Attempt another UK launch at the earliest this year.
Hart said at the event that the company’s investigation wasn’t over yet, but he was confident enough to reveal investigators’ findings. It came off and caused problems downstream,” he said. “It’s like a $100 part.” Hart also said Virgin Orbit won’t be using that filter anymore and is currently looking for a possible fix.
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