LONDON – Following the mission anomaly of the “Start Me Up” program, Virgin Orbit plans for its next launch to be in Mojave, USA.
The space company has mentioned that discussions have begun for an anticipated future return to Spaceport Cornwall following a successful pre-launch operation.
For Virgin Orbit, the mission anomaly on the upper stage of the rocket launch caused the mission to be classed as a failure.
Virgin Orbit has mentioned that an internal investigation has begun into the root causes of this anomaly and will complete corrective actions where appropriate.
Hart: Disappointment over the Anomaly…
Commenting on the anomaly was the CEO of Virgin Orbit, Dan Hart:
“We are all disappointed that we were not able to achieve full mission success and provide the launch service that our customers deserve.”
“Upon identifying the anomaly, our team immediately moved into a pre-planned investigation mode.”
“Given our four previous successful missions, which have proven our technology, our team’s deep understanding of the LauncherOne system from massive amounts of previously collected flight data, and the ample telemetry data that was collected characterizing the flight and the anomaly, I am confident that root cause and corrective actions will be determined in an efficient and timely manner.”
“We are continuing to process and test our next vehicle per our plan and will implement any required modifications prior to our next launch.
“I also want to express my heartfelt appreciation to our team, who worked tirelessly under high pressure and difficult conditions, and most importantly, to our customers, supporters, and partners in the UK, the US, and across the world.”
“We thank you for the many expressions of confidence and support we have received over the past two days.”
Next Steps: Mojave!
Virgin Orbit has said the following on its next steps for the next launch:
“Virgin Orbit is continuing to process its next scheduled rocket through final integration and checkout ahead of its upcoming mission, which is planned to occur from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.”
“Virgin Orbit also anticipates returning to Spaceport Cornwall for additional launches and is in active discussions with key government and commercial stakeholders in the UK to start planning mission opportunities for as soon as later this year.”
With this in mind, it is unclear when the company will return to Spaceport Cornwall, but it does appear to be the case that a relationship has melded with the UK for future space launches.
It remains clear that it was a disappointing time for Virgin Orbit when the anomaly was reported, but they can take solace in the fact that they made history regardless in the UK and Western Europe.
Looking ahead, the company will no doubt be focusing on the next launch and addressing the problems experienced with water-tight solutions that will turn failure into success next time.
But for now, it’s back to the drawing board for Virgin Orbit, who will be striving for bigger achievements as we progress through this decade.