Possible visibility of Virgin Orbit launch from the UK on January 9th

Forums General Discussion Possible visibility of Virgin Orbit launch from the UK on January 9th

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    Alex Pratt

    Almost a successful delivery of a payload to orbit by the American company from the host launch site in Cornwall.


    Grant Privett

    Down here in Salisbury, things looked hopeful. There was thin haze being illuminated by a bright Moon. But about 25mins before launch a band of cloud rose in the west – I was looking at a bearing of about 240degs and 4 degs elevation – and after that there were only faint thinnings through which I glimpsed stars. I reviewed the images and didn’t see any star-like source move right to left during those few minutes. So, no ascent to (nearly) orbit imagery from me.

    It may have been 1.2C on the hill, but it was fun – I could hear foxes and owls in the distance.

    Not sure it is embarrassing. According to an interview on the BEEB, the risk assessment indicated a 27% chance of failure. And, as the saying goes, “sewage happens”.

    It literally is rocket science. Its hard and we have become blase.

    I will certainly have another go at the next launch.

    Nick James

    There is a video from a fireball camera in Lanzarote which shows a bright and slow fireball northwest of the Canaries at 23:18:50.


    Drop time was 23:09 so this is around 600s downrange. Virgin Orbit stated that the vehicle reached 4.9 km/s which is a long way short of orbital velocity but fast enough to ablate on re-entry so this is consistent with re-entry of the second stage and payload.

    If anyone else has contacts in the Canaries please ask if they saw anything.

    As Grant says, putting stuff in orbit is still hard. Falcon 9 makes it look easy but Space-X has had a lot of practice.

    David Strange

    This is my only record of anything moving through the field of view of a 28mm lens with 30s exp.
    No rocket plume but a solitary aircraft at azimuth 239deg altitude 20deg at 23:18hr last night.
    An unhappy Cosmic Girl returning to Newquay perhaps!? Imaged from East Devon.


    Dr Paul Leyland

    I saw nothing from here in the Canaries, neither did one of my contacts also in La Palma.

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