The stock of Virgin Orbit fell in trading on Monday evening after the company confirmed that its first launch from the United Kingdom did not reach orbit.
Virgin Orbit shares fell as much as 30% in after-hours trading from their previous close of $1.93 per share.
The company sends satellites into space by dropping a rocket from under the aircraft’s wing in mid-flight, a technique known as air launch.
The webcast showed Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket being released and firing its engine, with the company tweeting that the rocket “successfully reached Earth orbit.” However, the company announced about a half-hour later that the launch had “an anomaly” and that the nine satellites onboard would not reach orbit.
Virgin Orbit is reviewing the launch data to determine the cause of the failure and has admitted to deleting the tweet about reaching orbit. The 747 jet and its crew landed safely at Spaceport Cornwall in southwest England.
The mission on Monday was Virgin Orbit’s sixth, and its second launch failure.
In 2022, the company conducted only two launches, falling short of the four to six missions predicted by Virgin Orbit at the start of the year. Virgin Orbit had $71.2 million in cash at the end of the third quarter and raised an additional $25 million from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, an existing major shareholder, in the middle of the fourth quarter.
(Adapted from WionNews.com)