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Virgin Orbit provides more details about what went right with its first launch demo

Virgin Orbit performed a demonstration of its full launch system on Monday, and while it didnt go quite as planned, with the mission cut short just a few seconds after Virgins LauncherOne separated from its Cosmic Girl carrier aircraft, the company says it still learned a lot and a lot went right, too.
Spaceflight is tough stuff, and its actually pretty common for a new spacecraft to not quite get everything right on its first time out. SpaceX took four tries with its original Falcon 1 rocket to make it to space, for instance. Test flights are tests for a reason, and Virgin Orbit notes that it actually did ace a lot of the aspects of the test, including launch vehicle release, the controlled drop after that release point, igniting the rocket on LauncherOne and even the first couple of seconds of powered flight after that all of which it says proves out the viability of its launch model.
Virgin also says it was able to collect good data from hundreds of channels and sensors during the launch, which is another reason why companies test systems to begin with. That was the main purpose of Mondays launch, and that should help them go back to work on ensuring that the part of the mission that didnt go so well doesnt happen again. So far, Virgin Orbit knows that around 9 seconds into its flight, the booster engine on LauncherOne extinguished due to a malfunction, causing the rocket to fall harmlessly into the ocean. They dont yet know the cause of that malfunction, but say they are confident that they have enough data to eventually figure out the cause.
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