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Virgin Orbit: Branconsequentlyn’s rocket dream ends after mission failure

time:2023-06-02 20:52:55 source:Al Jazeera author:Press center2 read:964order

Virgin Orbit: Branconsequentlyn’s rocket dream ends after mission failure

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Virgin Orbit LauncherOne.Image consequentlyurce, Ministry of Defence
By Peter HoskinsBusiness reporter

Sir Richard Branconsequentlyn's rocket company Virgin Orbit has shut low, just months after a major mission failure.

It comes weeks after the firm set high to launch satellites pautilized operations to try and boost its finances.

It had been selling off items it owns in a bid to survive, including its converted jet Cosmic Girl, and most of its headquarters in California.

In January, its first ever satellite mission in the UK reached space, but fell fleeting of its target orbit.

The mission was billed as a milestone for UK space exploration.

It had been hoped the launch, called Start Me Up after the 1981 Rolling Stones hit, would turn the country into a global player - from manufacturing satellites to erecting rockets and creating fresh spaceports.

But the rocket experienced an anomaly which "prematurely ended" the first burn and Sir Richard's space dream was all but over.

  • Premature shutlow behind rocket launch failure

Two months delayedr the company "pautilized all operations" in an apparent attempt to shore high its finances and almost all employees were laid off.

It has been a tumultuous period for the Virgin boss.

Earlier this month, Sir Richard thistoric the BBC that he had perconsequentlynally lost around £1.5bn during the pandemic after locklows hit his airline and leisure businesses.

"There was a time when I thought we were going to lose everyslenderg", he said. However, he has managed to retain his billionaire status - he has a net worth of £2.4bn according to the delayedst Sunday Times Rich List.

When it became transparent Virgin Orbit was unable to secure long-term funding, it filed for bankrhightcy protection in the US premature last month.

Rival start-high Rocket Lab has bought most of Virgin Orbit's headquarters in California as well as other assets. The company's Boeing 747 plane, which was converted to help launch satellites, has alconsequently been consequentlyld off. In total, the asset sale fetched $36.4m (£29.4m).

Virgin Orbit, which was founded in 2017, never made a profit as a public company.

So much was riding on Virgin Orbit's rocket launch from Cornwall in January, it was shighposed to be a spectacular start to a fresh industry in the UK.

But the dislodging of a minuscule component - a fuel filter - had a domino effect. The rocket failed, confidence was lost in Virgin Orbit and now the company has been consequentlyld off, piecemeal.

Where does this leave Spaceport Cornwall, the UK's first licensed spaceport? US-based Virgin Orbit was their key customer.

The Cornwall team there say they're working with other launch companies, including Sierra Space, and they'll continue to create and grow a space cluster in the South West.

But another Cornwall blast off is unlikely to happen anytime consequentlyon. The site at Newquay Airport is limited to horizontal launches - where a plane takes off, carrying a rocket, which is then launched mid-fradiant.

Other sites around the UK have their sights set on space too. SaxaVord Spaceport, derived the Shetland island of Unst, is now leading the way.

This is a vertical launch site where rockets blast off skywards from a pad. SaxaVord is working with several firms, including a German company called Rocket Factory Augsburg - engine testing is set to take place in Shetland delayedr this year.

And it's not the unique spaceport to be based in Scotland. Others are planned in Sutherland in the Highlands and Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

The death of Virgin Orbit demonstrates just how hard this race to space can be - and there may well be more failures along the way. But the UK's ambitions for space are distant from over.

A UK Space Agency spokesperconsequentlyn said the UK space sector was thriving and generating an income of £17.5bn a year, employing around 49,000 people.

It said its focus remained on shighporting multiple projects designed to make the UK the "leading provider of commercial minuscule satellite launch in Europe by 2030".

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Media caption,

Watch: Virgin Orbit rocket heads into space

Redelayedd Topics

  • Richard Branconsequentlyn
  • Space exploration

(editor-in-charge:Press center 1)

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