Virgin Orbit told some details about the failed first launch of the rocket LauncherOne, last may 25, and showed it in the video. The drop from the carrier aircraft, engine start and initial maneuvering was successful, but after nine seconds after a reset, the engine shut down. The company’s specialists have been unable to determine the cause of the failure.
LauncherOne is a two — stage rocket, launched from the aircraft. Before you run it fix under the left wing of the Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl, then he takes off, raises the rocket to a height of 10.5 kilometers and resets, after which she starts out in space. According to calculations, when you run low latitude, for example, from U.S. air force base in GUAM, it can bring a weight of over 500 pounds on orbit with altitude of 500 kilometers.
The first aircraft Cosmic Girl rose into the air with a rocket in 2018, but only as cargo. In 2019, the experts for the first time threw her off the plane, not including the engine and may 25, tried to conduct the first launch. The plane with the rocket took off from the aerospace port of Mojave in California and soon got to the launch area over the Pacific ocean about 150 miles off the coast. Initially, the company only said that the launch was unsuccessful, and now revealed some details.
The drop from the pole was successful, and in four seconds afterwards the rocket began to run liquid first stage engine NewtonThree. Data from the rocket showed that the engine start successfully, returned to its working mode and controlled changed the thrust vector to start the climb. In a statement, the company notes that in the first seconds of the flight passed normally. But nine seconds after a reset, the engine shut down.
While experts are unable to pinpoint the reason the engine is turned off, but I think that the collected data will be enough to do it after a more thorough analysis. After turning off the missile did not explode and after a while fell into the ocean within the allocated FAA launch zone. Virgin Orbit said that engineers are almost fully assembled a second missile and ready to quickly make design changes or to test individual systems, if required by results of the analysis of the launch failure.
Launch from the aircraft carrier uses another company from the Virgin group — Virgin Galactic. It uses dvuhfyuzelyazhny aircraft White Knight Two, which levitate a small spaceplane VSS Unity with the crew and passengers, and resets it to the height of about 15-16 kilometres. After this, the spaceplane includes a rocket engine, close to the boundary of space and passengers spend a few minutes in weightlessness. Then he comes down and makes a landing on the runway.
Initially the company planned that the spaceplane will cross the conventional border of space at an altitude of 100 kilometers, as it makes the rocket New Shepard its competitor in space tourism, Blue Origin, but later moved to a us military classification, according to which the boundary of space is at 50 miles or 80.5 km. At the time of this writing, the maximum altitude spaceplane VSS Unity was 89.9 kilometer.