Newquay Spaceport: We still don’t know what went wrong, says Branson, but no-one was hurt and the rocket crash did not cause “significant” environmental damage

Posted By on 27th May 2020

By Peter Tremayne Richard Branson has said it is still not clear what caused his rocket to crash on Monday evening, posing new questions about plans for a Newquay Spaceport.…

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This article has 3 comments

  1. “A few seconds after drop, the rocket trigged (sic) its ignition sequence. On our first ever attempt, we achieved in-air ignition and steady state-operation of our main stage rocket engine.”
    What evidence is available to prove this statement? Is there video evidence available? Will the rocket be recovered to enable scientific specifics of the cause and effect?

    • There is video (now available on Cornwall Reports) which shows the rocket motor does indeed ignite, but dies after a few seconds as the missile is moved to a different trajectory. A key difference between Virgin’s LauncherOne and Northrup Grumman’s horizontal launch rockets is that Virgin’s engines are based on a 1940s design, using liquid fuel. NG used solid fuel. The Virgin video does not support the “steady state operation” claim and Virgin has not suggested it will seek to recover the remains of its rocket from the ocean floor.

      • Thanks for the added info. A 1940s design? According to my reckoning, that’s about 80 years ago; maybe at about the time that the Germans were building V-Rockets. Not quite “state-of-the-art” 🙂

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