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Britain’s Satellite ‘Vega-C’ Hopes Remain Unwavering Despite Failure Of Mission

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Britain's Satellite 'Vega-C' Hopes Remain Unwavering Despite Failure Of Mission

(CTN NEWS) – LONDON – Grant Shapps, the business minister, said on Tuesday that despite the failure of what would have been the first launch into orbit from western Europe, Britain’s prospects of becoming a leading launch location for small satellites remain unaffected.

Shapps announced that a second attempt would be made hours after the historic mission to launch nine satellites was cut short when a Virgin Orbit rocket launched from a jumbo jet encountered an anomaly that prevented it from reaching orbit.

“Space is challenging,” he said to Sky News. “It was a failure. They will undoubtedly get back up, dust themselves off, and continue.”

Dan Hart, the chief executive of Virgin Orbit, stated that the company anticipated resuming missions as soon as an exhaustive investigation was finished and assessed.

Britain's Satellite 'Vega-C' Hopes Remain Unwavering Despite Failure Of Mission

Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit, looks on during an event around Britain’s first satellite launch, at Cornwall Airport Newquay, in Cornwall, Britain January 9, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

In what is referred to be a horizontal launch, the rocket was successfully discharged over the Atlantic from a Boeing 747 that took off from Newquay in southwest England.

The LauncherOne rocket reached a speed of 11,000 mph (17,700 km/h) before experiencing system failure. Experts predicted that after the failure, the rocket would have disintegrated.

It was the most recent setback for European space missions in a string of missteps.

Italian-built Vega-C rockets have been halted since a launch failure from French Guiana last month, and the launch of the European Space Agency’s Ariane 6 launcher for large satellites has been delayed.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket made its first-ever UK launch at Newquay.

Britain's Satellite 'Vega-C' Hopes Remain Unwavering Despite Failure Of Mission

According to science minister George Freeman on Monday, Virgin Orbit provided the majority of the funding for the trip, with Britain contributing roughly 20 million pounds ($24 million) to the spaceport and the launch.

According to Matt Archer, the UK Space Agency’s director of commercial space, commercial clients like Oman, the British start-up Space Forge, and others are understood to have paid $10–12 million for Virgin Orbit to launch their satellites and will be protected by its insurance.

Shares of Virgin Orbit (VORB.O) decreased 20% in pre-market trading to $1.48.

Shapps stated that he was still optimistic about the Newquay location and other possible spaceports in Britain, such as one planned for the Shetland Islands in Scotland that would allow for vertical rocket launches.

Britain's Satellite 'Vega-C' Hopes Remain Unwavering Despite Failure Of Mission

The plane takes off ahead of Britain’s first satellite launch, at Cornwall Airport Newquay, in Cornwall, Britain January 9, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

According to him, there are six additional locations in the UK, including a few in Scotland and Wales, so there are plenty of opportunities for export, employment, and financial gain.

Additionally, emerging as possible rivals for space launches are Sweden and Norway.

Since beginning its operations from a base in the United States in 2020, Virgin Orbit, which British billionaire Richard Branson partially owns, has had four successful trips; the Newquay mission represents the company’s second failure.

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