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First LauncherOne mission fails to reach orbit
Posted: Thu, May 28, 2020, 6:24 PM ET (2224 GMT)
LauncherOne first launch (Virgin Orbit) Virgin Orbit's first LauncherOne rocket failed to make it to orbit Monday. The rocket, carried aloft by the company's Boeing 747 aircraft, was released at about 3:50 pm EDT (1950 GMT) off the coast of Southern California. The rocket's NewtonThree first stage engine ignited and fired for several seconds before an "anomaly" caused it to shut down, terminating the mission. The cause of the anomaly was not immediately known, company officials said late Monday, but they emphasized that the flight had been proceeding smoothly up until that point, including release and ignition. In a prelaunch briefing Saturday, Virgin Orbit lowered expectations for the launch attempt by noting that only about 50% of first launches of new rockets have been successful. The schedule for the next launch attempt will depend on the outcome of the investigation and any additional testing or modifications required, but before the launch the company had expected to perform one or two more LauncherOne missions this year.
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