Virgin Orbit scrubs first night launch due to propellant temperature being ‘out of bounds’

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl, with LauncherOne under its wing | Image: Virgin Orbit

Small satellite launcher Virgin Orbit postponed its first night launch on Wednesday after finding that the temperature of its rocket propellant was “slightly out of bounds.” The company is figuring out when to move ahead with the launch in the next few days.

This mission — called “Straight Up” in homage to the 1988 song by Paula Abdul — is for the US Space Force and will carry seven small satellites for the Space Test Program. It’ll be the fifth mission for Virgin Orbit and the second one since the company went public through a SPAC merger. The launch was originally set to occur out of Mojave, California, during a launch window that opened at 1AM ET, which would have marked the first launch at night for the company.

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Author: Loren Grush