Science & Tech

17 funniest memes and reactions to the Virgin Orbit launch failure

Virgin Orbit: Space agency chief ‘doesn’t know’ what went wrong as mission …

An attempt to make British space history failed on Monday night after the first attempt to launch a rocket into orbit from UK soil was unsuccessful.

The Virgin Orbit plane flew to 35,000ft over the Atlantic Ocean after taking off before ending in failure after suffering an “anomaly”.

The plane, dubbed Cosmic Girl, took off from Cornwall Airport with hundreds of members of the public watching and over 75,000 viewing a live stream of the event.

The rocket, called LauncherOne, carrying nine satellites, was successfully released off the south coast of Ireland but a sudden glitch meant it didn't quite make it to orbit.

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The launch on Monday evening ended in a damp squibMatthew Horwood/Getty Images

People on social media were quick to react to the event. While many praised the historic implications of the flight and shared their disappointment with the result, others took issue with the livestream coverage and some also poked a little fun at the failed launch...

Early on Tuesday morning, Virgin Orbit issued a statement which said: “Out of five LauncherOne missions carrying payloads for private companies and governmental agencies, this is the first to fall short of delivering its payloads to their precise target orbit.”

“While we are very proud of the many things that we have successfully achieved as part of this mission, we are mindful that we failed to provide our customers with the launch service they deserve,” chief executive Dan Hart added.

“The first-time nature of this mission added layers of complexity that our team professionally managed through; however, in the end a technical failure appears to have prevented us from delivering the final orbit.”

Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport Cornwall, spoke about the mission failure by saying: “This isn’t the first time we’ve been knocked, this is the biggest definitely, but I feel okay and we’ll get up and we’ll go again. It hasn’t gone exactly to plan but we’ve done everything that we said we were going to do at Spaceport.

“We’re feeling awful, to be honest – I’m not going to lie. It’s gutting and we all heard at different times and when we got together there were tears, and it was very upsetting.

“We are family and we’ve been through a lot together. So, when you go through something like this as a family at least you have that support, and we all understand one another. There’s not much more I can say other than it’s gutting but everybody’s okay.”

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