Britain and US to oversee investigation into Virgin Orbit launch failure

Britain and US to jointly oversee investigation into Virgin Orbit launch failure

Britain and US to oversee investigation into Virgin Orbit launch failure

The United Kingdom and the U.S. will jointly oversee an investigation into the failed launch of a Virgin Orbit rocket that was intended to launch several satellites into orbit, according to a document published on the British government’s website on Friday.

British businessman Richard Branson’s company Virgin Orbit earlier said its LauncherOne rocket launched from a Boeing 747 failed to launch space satellites into orbit. The company later said the failure was due to a premature failure of the second stage engine.

“The UK Space Accident Investigation Agency (SAIA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US will jointly oversee Virgin Orbit’s investigation into the system anomaly that occurred during the second stage engine launch,” it said.

The British Civil Aviation Authority will act as a consultant during the investigation, the website said.

The launch was to be the first-ever satellite launch from UK territory. The company had previously conducted five rocket launches from Mojave Airfield in California, the first of which ended unsuccessfully. The Western press called the failed mission “a serious blow” not only to Britain, but also to Virgin Orbit and the seven companies whose satellites were to be put into orbit.

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