$100 filter: The reason for the failure of the first space launch from the UK

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 $100 filter: Reason for the failure of the first space launch from the UK

Virgin Orbit LauncherOne's first orbital launch from the UK was supposed to be a milestone for the company and the region, but ended in failure. Now the company has figured out that the failure was probably due to the failure of only one component costing only about $100. This is reported by Spacenews.

However, the company has raised a $55 million loan since November from Virgin Investments Limited, the investment arm of the Virgin Group, but recent cash flow rates suggest the funds could run out as early as the second quarter.

The CEO said Virgin Orbit Dan Hart at the SmallSat Symposium in California, while there is evidence that the rocket crash was caused by spontaneous filter displacement in the second stage engine.

The Start Me Up mission launched from the spaceport in Cornwall in the first half of January 2023 and at first there were no signs of problems. The LauncherOne rocket successfully separated from the carrier aircraft, but then the flight did not go according to plan. There was a “some anomaly” with the second stage, which led to a premature shutdown of the engines. After that, the components of the rocket and the cargo fell to Earth in a pre-approved “safe corridor”, the rocket did not even reach Earth orbit.

Virgin Orbit is conducting a thorough investigation into the cause of the breakdown, but the company does not intend to wait for its final results and is preparing to conduct a relaunch from the UK later this year, the head of Virgin Orbit said during the California summit.

Hart expressed confidence in the accuracy of the results of the preliminary investigation – the filter was exactly in place when the second stage engine started, which means that the part has moved out of place already in flight. He also stated that Virgin Orbit no longer intends to use this part and is now looking for possible alternatives.

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