Virgin Orbit launched a rocket from the UK on Monday but failed to reach orbit.
An “anomaly” occurred after Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747, launched a rocket.
Here’s what happened when Insider attended the rocket launch at Spaceport Cornwall.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit on Monday attempted to launch a rocket from the UK in what would have been the country’s first orbital space mission from British soil, but the spacecraft failed.
Virgin Orbit uses a modified Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400 called Cosmic Girl to launch the LauncherOne rocket, which is placed under the plane’s wing.
When a rocket is launched from Cosmic Girl at 35,000 feet, its engines are designed to accelerate it into orbit. But that was not the case on Monday at Spaceport Cornwall in southern England.
About 2,500 people watched the launch of the satellite. Staff, media and the public had to stand across the runway from the spaceport and spacecraft for safety reasons.
In the middle of the closed part of the airport there was a replica of the 70-meter LauncherOne rocket, made by the British Space Agency.
People started gathering hours before launch and lined up chairs along the fence from which they could watch Space Girl take off into the sky.
Virgin Orbit organized food, snacks, restrooms and even a silent disco for all spectators.
Virgin Orbit has released the planned flight trajectory for the mission, showing the nine satellites in LauncherOne that will be launched off Ireland’s south coast.
Cosmic Girl accelerated down the runway before smoothly taking off around 5:00 p.m. EST.
Viewers watched as Space Girl soared into the night sky with LauncherOne placed under the plane’s wing. A livestream played during the event allowed people to follow the launch.
When Cosmic Girl reached the right height, Virgin Orbit announced that it had successfully released LauncherOne from under its wings.
Everything was going smoothly until around 6:45 p.m. ET Virgin Orbit announced that the rocket had suffered an “anomaly” and was unable to reach orbit to deliver the nine satellites on board.
Crowds of spectators began to leave the spaceport after realizing that the mission had failed.
Cosmic Girl eventually landed back at the spaceport. The pilots were expected to greet the rest of the Virgin Orbit crew in a public space, but this has been cancelled.
“We have failed to provide our customers with the launch service they deserve,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in a statement. “We will work tirelessly to understand the nature of the failure, take corrective action and return to orbit as soon as we complete a full investigation.”
Read the original article in Business Insider