Far from being an excuse to start writing an obituary for the UK’s ambitions to become a major space launch centre, the disappointing end of a historic rocket mission off the Cornwall seaside is just a reminder that space travel is far from easy.
LauncherOne failed to reach low Earth orbit and deploy nine satellites, including several made in the UK, a cruel twist after what happened Spend an evening of wonder and adrenaline at Spaceport Cornwall.
revisit space mission
But the UK is far from alone when it comes to failed orbital missions, with some of the biggest names in spaceflight failing in recent years – sometimes at a much higher cost.
The Nightmare Before Christmas for Italian Rockets
The Cornwall launch is of great significance not only for the UK, but for the whole of Western Europe, as the Russian rocket ukraine war.
An Italian-made Vega-C rocket blasted off from French Guiana on Dec. 20, another mission meant to demonstrate European qualifications, but like LauncherOne, there was an “anomaly” when the satellite was about to deploy.
Two Earth-imaging satellites were destroyed as a result, and rockets have been grounded since just one successful launch in their honor last summer.
NASA apologizes for embarrassing private company
In the space of four months last year, NASA was knocked out twice by the same private space company, with the US agency losing six satellites in the process.
Back to February 2022an Astra rocket carrying four small, low-cost CubeSats launched from California — but within minutes, the spacecraft lost control and plummeted toward Earth.
Astra boss Chris Kemp said he was “deeply sorry”, but unfortunately the company ended up losing two more NASA satellites – designed to track hurricanes – After a second-stage failure in June.
Top secret satellite lost (not in space)
A classified U.S. government satellite whose purpose has never been disclosed and is very secretive, Missing during SpaceX launch in 2018.
The secrecy surrounding the launch and the involvement of defense contractor Northrop Grumman in building and operating the hardware – which will eventually go into low orbit – has fueled speculation about its defense-related ties.
It is believed to have been lost and re-entered Earth’s atmosphere during deployment.
SpaceX’s first launch fails
As Richard Attenborough said in Jurassic Park, even industry leaders suffer from delays.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is now a $2 billion company, but on its maiden launch in 2006, a Falcon 1 rocket made its first flight from a test site in the Marshall Islands. lost during combustion.
It’s fair to say that things have gone smoothly for the company since then.
Amazon founder’s Blue Origin fails to deliver
After 22 successful launches, Blue Origin — the private space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — suffered its first defeat last September.
The mission was uncrewed, but it was the same system that launched people to the edge of space and included dozens of experiments.
After the New Shepard rocket’s booster failed, Blue Origin’s live commentary said: “Looks like we had an anomaly with our flight today. It wasn’t planned.”
Russia is no stranger to satellite blunders
Russia is one of the most space-prolific countries in the world – its Soyuz rocket family, for example, has been the most heavily used in the world since its debut in 1966.
But even they are not immune to problems. Back in 2015, an advanced military satellite said to be used to track enemy submarines was lost after a Soyuz spacecraft was launched from Plesetsk in northwestern Russia.
Such incidents underscore the difficulties that even the most experienced rocket-launching nation can face.
Space is hard.