Advanced Television

Virgin Orbit reports on Cornwall failure

February 9, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Virgin Orbit lost its LauncherOne rocket on January 9th when its second stage failed to operate correctly. CEO Dan Hart – speaking on a panel at the SmallSat Symposium in California – said that a small, and inexpensive part, might have been the cause.

The problem flight took place from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, Cornwall and Hart told delegates that while research into the mission’s failure continued, the current thinking was pointing towards a component failure in the rocket’s second stage.

“Everything points to, right now, a filter that was clearly there when we assembled the rocket but was not there as the second stage engine started, meaning it was dislodged and caused mischief downstream,” he stated.

Hart said that Virgin Orbit was looking at other solutions for future launches.

Virgin Orbit is also preparing LauncherOne’s next flight which will happen from its HQ at the Mojave Air & Space Port in California.

“For us, it’s about ramping this year. We see a market that continues to develop,” he told delegates. “We will see demand grow and we need to grow with it.”

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