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Space

Failed Launch Brings New Insight to Launch Operations

During the initial deployment mission on May 25, the LauncherOne from Virgin Airlines struggled to re-enter the atmosphere. According to the launch report, the mission delayed takeoff by mere seconds after release from the aircraft.

The Cosmic Girl, a name given to Boeing’s 747, was launched in California at 14:56 from the Mojave Air and Space Terminal. However, the agency postponed the eastern space shuttle mission after a trial launch attempt on May 24. The mission pushed forward in time after the team noticed a defective sensor. As part of the mission plan, the Boeing 747 was supposed to haul the LauncherOne rocket aboard. The mission plan would proceed to the area close to the Channel Islands above Southern California’s Coastal region where the crew plan to release the rocket from the LauncerOne’s left-wing

However, during the mission, Virgin Airlines did not have broadcasted its launch. Instead, its launch details surfaced through social network alerts. The public received news of the launch from tweets at the end of the mission when the rocket successfully detached from the aircraft.

However, everything did not go as planned. According to a comment by CEO of Virgin Orbit, Dan Hart said that the launch started off to what looks like a success. However, as the mission proceeded for a few seconds, it flew then the ground team noticed a problem.

Virgin Orbit understood it would be impossible to achieve the launch to reach orbit on the first trial. Historical data also shows that 50 percent of the first flights of new spacecraft is ever accurate. However, the team confirms that the second LauncherOne rocket is about to be finished with others being on separate development levels.

Leading up to this launch, space exploration agencies strained on the costs of running failed attempts. Experts, however, relay that development to have successful first trials is a crucial achievement for the industry capable of one timed launch into orbit. Hart said the circumstances leading to the first phase launch and ignition ran perfectly.

The launch currently shows the evidence factors that make launching rockets cumbersome. Hart states that the team learned a lot from the failed attempt and how to optimize future fights to be more successful 

Hart indicated that in the next few weeks, technicians would study the launching incident results. The team also plans to have a separate team focus on the next LauncherOne racket, further testing the findings on the next rocket launch and future deployments. However, it is not clear on the outcome of the research.