First ever satellite mission launched from UK fails

First ever satellite mission launched from UK fails

THE FIRST ever satellite mission launched from UK soil has ended in failure.

A jumbo jet operated by the American Virgin Orbit company carried a rocket out of Newquay, Cornwall, to release it high over the Atlantic Ocean.

The rocket ignited and appeared to be ascending correctly.

However, word then came from the company that the rocket had suffered an "anomaly".

The satellites it was carrying could not be released and were lost.

Mariners in Kerry and Cork have been warned by the Department of Transport about the possibility of debris falling from the sky tonight off the south-west coast of Ireland.

Following the failure, Cosmic Girl, the carrier 747 jet, returned safely to base.

The mission had been billed as a major milestone for UK space, marking the birth of a home-grown launch industry. The ambition is to turn the country into a global player - from manufacturing satellites, to building rockets and creating new spaceports.

Matt Archer, the launch programme director at the UK Space Agency, said the issue occurred in the upper segment of the rocket.

"The second-stage engine had a technical anomaly and didn't reach the required orbit," he explained.

"That's now part of an investigation by Virgin Orbit and a number of government departments," he told BBC News.

More than 2,000 spectators and VIPs had gathered at Cornwall Newquay Airport to watch the 747 leave.