Space crash experts from Britain and America will team up to find out why a rocket carrying satellites made by an Alton company ended up in the Atlantic Ocean.
Staff at In-Space Missions, based in Omega Park, could only watch in frustration as their two Prometheus-2 CubeSat satellites ended up under water rather than in orbit on Monday night.
The government announced today that the Air Accidents Investigation Branch – which since 2021 has also been the Space Accident Investigation Authority for the UK – and the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA will jointly oversee Virgin Orbit's investigation into the failure of its launch.
A team of inspectors from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch observed the launch at Spaceport Cornwall. Those in charge of the UK's first space launch said a "system anomaly" occurred during the firing of the rocket's second stage engine.
The aim of the investigation is to ensure any relevant safety lessons are learnt. The UK's Civil Aviation Authority will advise the Space Accident Investigation Authority during the investigation.