1st space mission from UK territory fails after rocket ‘anomaly’


London/New Delhi, Jan 10

The UK rocket carrying satellites into space suffered an "anomaly" on Tuesday, abruptly ending the first foray into orbital launch from the UK territory.

Virgin Orbit, founded by Sir Richard Branson, said it was evaluating the information and would share more information when it could, reports the BBC.

A Virgin Orbit Boeing 747 carrying the 21 metre rocket took off from a spaceport in Cornwall, southwest England.

However, as the rocket was due to enter orbit and discharge its nine satellites, scientists found an "anomaly" that prevented the spacecraft from reaching the orbit.

The mission saw a repurposed 747 jumbo jet release the 'LauncherOne' rocket over the Atlantic to take nine satellites high above the Earth.

Matt Archer, the UK space agency launch programme director, said he was disappointed.

"The second stage engine had a technical anomaly and didn't reach the required orbit," he was quoted as saying.

Virgin Orbit and the UK government will probe the cause of the problem.

Melissa Thorpe, head of UK Spaceport, said "we put so much into this, everybody has and we're like a big family. So it is absolutely gutting".

Meanwhile, Indian businessman Anand Mahindra tweeted that we should admire the launch record of ISRO.

"I recognise that this was a very different type of orbital launch but it stills tells me how much more we should appreciate and admire the launch record of ISRO," he posted.


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