Virgin Orbit experienced a hiccup Monday with the launch demo of its two-stage orbital rocket from a 747 aircraft.
The launch would have seen the rocket — Launcher One — “ignite its engine mid-air for the first time,” according to a news release. However, the rocket experienced an issue.
“We’ve confirmed a clean release from the aircraft,” Virgin Orbit tweeted. “However, the mission terminated shortly into the flight.”
The company later tweeted that the rocket experienced an anomaly in its first-stage flight.
“As we said before the flight, our goals today were to work through the process of conducting a launch, learn as much as we could, and achieve ignition. We hoped we could have done more, but we accomplished those key objectives today,” the company said.
Virgin Orbit indicated in a news release that the “mission safely terminated.” A spokesperson confirmed the rocket fell into the ocean.
The company wants to fire satellites into orbit using rockets that launch mid-air from under the wing of a plane. The company previously said the demo “marks the apex of a five-year-long development program.”