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European satellite launch fails to reach orbit

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2023-01-10T00:10:28Z

The first attempt to launch a satellite from western Europe appeared to have failed early on Tuesday when Virgin Orbit reported an “anomaly” that had prevented its rocket from reaching orbit.

The mission had left from the coastal town of Newquay in southwest England, with Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket carried under the wing of a modified Boeing 747 and later released over the the Atlantic Ocean.

Virgin Orbit (VORB.O), part-owned by British billionaire Richard Branson, had planned to deploy nine satellites into lower Earth orbit (LEO) in its first mission outside its United States base.

“We appear to have an anomaly that has prevented us from reaching orbit,” the company said. “We are evaluating the information.”

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Technicians work on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, attached to the wing of Cosmic Girl, a Boeing 747-400 aircraft, ahead of UK’s First launch, at Spaceport Cornwall at Newquay Airport in Newquay, Britain, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Technicians work on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, attached to the wing of Cosmic Girl, a Boeing 747-400 aircraft, ahead of UK’s First launch, at Spaceport Cornwall at Newquay Airport in Newquay, Britain, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A replica model of Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket sits in a media area ahead of UK’s First launch at Newquay Airport in Newquay, Britain, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A replica model of Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket sits in a media area ahead of UK’s First launch at Newquay Airport in Newquay, Britain, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

CEO of Virgin Orbit Dan Hart, Deputy CEO of UK Space Agency Ian Annett and Head of Spaceport Cornwall Melissa Thorpe take part in a news conference at Newquay Airport, ahead of UK’s First launch of Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, in Newquay, Britain, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A logo for Start Me Up, the UK’s First launch of Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, is seen on a podium during a news conference at Newquay Airport in Newquay, Britain, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

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