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Virgin Orbit rocket failure: UK satellite launch suffers in-flight 'anomaly'
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A historic first mission to launch satellites from British soil ultimately fell short of reaching its target orbit after suffering an "anomaly."
Following a successful takeoff from the runway at Spaceport Cornwall on Monday night, and traveling to a designated drop zone, Virgin Orbit said the customized Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft "Cosmic Girl" that serves as the LauncherOne system’s carrier aircraft released the rocket.
The rocket reached space, continuing through stage separation and ignition of the second stage.
However, at some point during the firing of its second stage engine, with the rocket reaching a speed of more than 11,000 miles per hour, the system experienced the anomaly and the mission was ended prematurely.
Shares of Virgin Orbit tumbled by as much as 20% on the news.