Virgin Orbit indicated in a press release that the “mission has ended securely”. A spokesman confirmed that the rocket had fallen into the ocean.
The company wants to launch satellites into orbit using rockets that launch in midair from under the wing of an airplane. The company previously claimed that the demo “marks the pinnacle of a five-year development program.”
“Launching from Earth into space is incredibly difficult,” he said in a press release. “Thousands of components must all function as expected, while controlling high energy and flying at incredibly high speeds. The vehicle’s structures must be robust enough to tolerate journeys of up to 18,000 mph without disintegrating; the temperatures and pressures of its propellants they cannot be too high or too low; each internal valve must click open and closed in perfect synchronicity … “
Virgin Orbit did not respond to requests for further comment on Monday.
– Jackie Wattles contributed to this report