The first trials of LauncherOne failed. Virgin Galactic’s booster rocket had technical problems, the company said.
Virgin created the LauncherOne orbital launch vehicle in the late 2010s. It is assumed that in the future the device will start from under the wing of the aircraft without turning off the engines and will be able to launch small satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit.
The first test flight of the Boeing 747 with a missile under the wing took place in November 2018 and lasted for 1.5 hours. As a result, the company’s engineers managed to collect data on the aerodynamics and load on the aircraft structure with an additional element.
We’ve confirmed a clean release from the aircraft. However, the mission terminated shortly into the flight. Cosmic Girl and our flight crew are safe and returning to base.
— Virgin Orbit (@Virgin_Orbit) May 25, 2020
Then the company tested a full-fledged rocket, and not a mass-dimensional layout. LauncherOne was seasoned with water and antifreeze, which simulated fuel.
Finally, on May 25, full-fledged demonstration tests of the launch vehicle took place. However, after the missile was dropped, a failure occurred, the nature and causes of which are not specified.
“We confirm the smooth release of the launch vehicle from the aircraft. However, the mission was terminated soon during the flight. Cosmic Girl and crew are safe and return to base”.