Watch the moment Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket crashes to Earth

This was the first ever orbital space launch from British soil but it ultimately ended in failure as the Virgin Orbit rocket was lost.

LauncherOne’s 70-foot rocket suffered an “anomaly” during the second stage of its ascent into space and never reached the height needed to put its payload of nine satellites into orbit.

It is believed that the missile either burned up in the atmosphere or crashed over the Atlantic Ocean.

Footage of that dramatic moment has now emerged after an observer caught the main body of LauncherOne tumbling back to Earth after turning back.

DESTRUCTIVE: Britain’s historic first-ever space launch on UK soil failed dramatically Monday night, after Virgin Orbit revealed that an ‘anomaly’ prevented its rocket from reaching orbit. Pictured is the moment the rocket ignites

Timeline: How Cornwall’s space launch from Virgin Monday went wrong

22:02 GMT: Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl aircraft takes off from Spaceport Cornwall

23:10 GMT: After reaching the launch area off the coast of Ireland, Cosmic Girl deploys the rocket wedged into its belly

23:11 GMT: The rocket heads behind Portugal as it ascends into space

23:18 GMT: Virgin appears to be indicating on Twitter that the mission has successfully reached orbit

**

23:18 GMT: Ramon Lopez – a collaborator with Spain’s Meteor Network – photographs a fiery point in the night sky over Lanzarote, which experts later say is LauncherOne.

**

23:50 GMT: An apparent “anomaly” prevented the rocket from deploying its payload of satellites into orbit.

23:55 GMT: Cosmic Girl returns to the Cornwall spaceport as disappointed onlookers watch

Experts say it was filmed from Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, and matches the launch trajectory and timing of a Virgin Orbit rocket.

The booster was successfully launched from the wing of a modified 747 jumbo jet, which took off from Cornwall Spaceport in Newquay on Monday night.

The Virgin Orbit mission appears to be going smoothly, if only because the rocket suffered an “anomaly” as it climbed from the southern coast of Ireland toward Portugal as it was hurtling into space at 11,000 miles per hour.

It never reached the target altitude to launch a payload of nine satellites into orbit and eventually lost some time around 23:15 GMT.

Just minutes ago, Ramón López – a collaborator with Spain’s Meteor Network – spotted a fiery point in the sky as LauncherOne’s second stage returned to Earth with its satellites at 23:18 GMT.

Post a video to Twitter and YouTube of the moment this happens.

Experts, including Dutch scientist and satellite tracker Marco Langbroek, confirmed that the fireball was LauncherOne.

“The timing, direction of view (W-NW) and direction of motion are in good agreement with the launch trajectory of the ‘Start me Up’ mission, which passed 380 km west of Lanzarote,” he wrote on his blog.

The lower sky altitude also shows that the object is actually much lower than the orbital altitude, consistent with atmospheric reentry.

Had it been in the 555 km orbit, it would have passed higher in the sky as seen from Lanzarote, and would have been invisible, because that part of the orbit was not illuminated by the Sun.

“The fact that it is visible, already shows that it was burning by this time, resulting in a slow fireball that is visible in the video.”

Footage of that dramatic moment has now emerged after an observer caught the main body of LauncherOne tumbling back to Earth after turning back.

Footage of that dramatic moment has now emerged after an observer caught the main body of LauncherOne tumbling back to Earth after turning back.

Experts say it was filmed from Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, and matches the launch trajectory and timing of a Virgin Orbit rocket.

Experts say it was filmed from Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, and matches the launch trajectory and timing of a Virgin Orbit rocket.

Ramon Lopez - a collaborator with Spain's Meteorite Network - spotted a fiery point in the sky as LauncherOne's second stage returned to Earth with its satellites at 23:18 GMT on Monday.

Ramon Lopez – a collaborator with Spain’s Meteorite Network – spotted a fiery point in the sky as LauncherOne’s second stage returned to Earth with its satellites at 23:18 GMT on Monday.

Dr. Langbroek added that the site was ‘too far south in latitude to be the first stage’, which contains a designated warming area about 250 miles (400 km) off the coast of Portugal and 620 miles (1,000 km) north of Lanzarote. .

“And then it must be the second stage and the payloads attached,” he said.

Therefore, from the available evidence, it appears that the second stage of the missile was underperforming.

Dr. Langbroeck also said that the second stage of the rocket and its satellite payload “likely burned up completely during re-entry.”

He added, “If any parts have survived at all, they are now at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.”

Virgin Orbit has yet to reveal much about what happened – other than to say there was an “anomaly” – but the UK space agency said a problem arose during the second stage of the launch and the cause was under investigation.

“In fact, the rocket did not reach the altitude required to maintain its orbit or deploy the satellites, so the mission was not successful,” Matt Archer, the agency’s launch program manager, told reporters at Spaceport Cornwall on Monday.

LauncherOne never reached its target altitude to launch a payload of nine satellites into orbit and was eventually lost—either burning up in Earth's atmosphere or crashing over the North Atlantic Ocean

LauncherOne never reached the target altitude to launch a payload of nine satellites into orbit and was eventually lost—either burning up in Earth’s atmosphere or crashing over the North Atlantic Ocean

Virgin Orbit's mission to deploy satellites into space failed Monday night after it failed

Virgin Orbit’s mission to deploy satellites into space failed Monday night after an “anomaly” prevented the rocket from reaching its destination altitude.

“Over the coming days there will be an investigation involving the government and various bodies, including Virgin Orbit, to ensure we understand what caused this technical failure and again we will work out what to do next.”

Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit, said: “We recognize that we have failed to provide our customers with the launch service they deserve.

The nature of this assignment for the first time added layers of complexity through which our team professionally managed; However, in the end, it appears that a technical malfunction prevented us from delivering the final orbit.

“We will work tirelessly to understand the nature of the failure, take corrective action, and return to orbit once the full investigation and mission assurance process is completed.”

Virgin’s Cosmic Girl 747 has returned safely to Cornwall Spaceport after a failed launch.

Spaceport Cornwall has set a target of carrying out two commercial unmanned spaceflights per year from this year, but it is unclear at this point whether another launch will happen in 2023.

The UK Space Agency’s deputy chief executive, Ian Annette, is optimistic that more missions will happen within the next 12 months. However, he cautioned, the failure shows “how difficult” it is to actually get into orbit.

The first ever orbital launch from UK soil failed dramatically Monday night

The first ever orbital launch from UK soil failed dramatically Monday night

And everyone seemed to be planning for Britain's first orbital launch until the moment LauncherOne's second stage engine fired.  This was to happen when the rocket was between 310 and 745 miles above Earth, and the engine would fire a series of burns to spin its orbit.

And everyone seemed to be planning for Britain’s first orbital launch until the moment LauncherOne’s second stage engine fired. This was to happen when the rocket was between 310 and 745 miles above Earth, and the engine would fire a series of burns to spin its orbit.

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How does the Virgo orbit get satellites into space?

Take off Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747, takes off from an air and spaceport, initially in California.

Missile distribution At about 35,000 feet, the lead pilot hits the big red button that launches the missile from the pylon.

First stage combustion After a 4-second free fall, the first-stage engine, NewtonThree, springs to life, accelerating the rocket to more than 8,000 miles per hour. Once the fuel runs out, the first stage separates.

fair chapter With LauncherOne now between 310 and 745 miles above Earth’s surface, the flip unfolds, revealing the payload as it approaches its destination.

satellite deployment Finally, with very precise timing, the second stage catapults the satellite into its final orbit.

Back to earth Atmospheric drag will eventually pull the second stage back to Earth, where it will burn up in the atmosphere, reducing its environmental footprint.

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