Satellite launch failure ‘a minor dent’ in UK space ambitions

Satellite launch failure ‘a minor dent’ in UK space ambitions

Satellite launch failure ‘a minor dent’ in UK space ambitions

UK space sector looking for bright spots after first orbit launch from Western Europe andended in failure.

The mission seems to have started smoothly. Around 10 p.m. GMT on Monday, the Boeing 747 carrying Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket has succeeded took off in the South West of England.

The jet then climbed to about 35,000 feet before launching the rocket over the Atlantic Ocean. But then disaster struck.

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“We appear to have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit. We are evaluating the information,” Virgin Orbit announced on Twitter.

The US company quickly provided further details. The problem had appeared during the firing of LauncherOne’s second stage engine, while the rocket was traveling at over 11,000 mph.

All nine satellites on board were lost. Among them was Amber-1, which was developed by UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult and Horizon Technologies for maritime tracking.

“We will come back stronger.

Paul Febrve, CTO at Satellite Applications Catapult, said the failure was a big setback for everyone involved, but a “minor breach” in the UK’s space strategy.

“It’s a tough blow, but it’s not a crippling blow,” Febrve told TNW. “We will learn from it, come back stronger and improve the capabilities we have in the UK. »

This capacity rests on solid foundations. As an island with a northern latitude, Britain has a geography conducive to launching satellites in polar and sun-synchronous orbits, which pass over the north and south poles.

There are several compelling reasons to exploit these strengths. One is the growing demand for digital connectivity across the globe, which cannot be met using terrestrial infrastructure alone.