The launch would have seen the rocket – Launcher One – “turn on its engine in the air for the first time,” according to a statement. However, the rocket encountered a problem.
The company plans to launch satellites into orbit using rockets that launch into the air under the wing of an aircraft. The company previously said the demo “marks the culmination of a five-year development program.”
“Launching from Earth to space is incredibly difficult,” he said in a statement. “Thousands of components must all operate as expected while controlling high energy and flying at incredibly fast speeds. Vehicle structures must be strong enough to tolerate moving up to 18,000 mph without disintegrating; the temperatures and pressures of its propellants cannot be too high or too low; each internal valve must open and close in perfect synchronicity … “
Virgin Orbit did not respond to the request for additional comments on Monday.
– Jackie Wattles contributed to this report