Virgin orbit is not the only rocket company having a bad week. CNN reports that on Tuesday U.S. rocket company ABL Space Systems ran problems off the Alaska coast when its RS1 rocket shut down prematurely during its maiden launch. The rocket and the two satellites it was carrying were lost.
It was a bad week, but the space industry is growing and persistence will pay off. It is also important to have deep pockets to cover early failures. SpaceX and Blue Origin benefited from billionaire backers, and ABL is lucky to have Lockheed Martin in its corner. With an initial order of 58 rocket launches, Lockheed Martin has every reason to encourage continued progress.
Update: As of earlier today, ABL Space Systems has not issued a press release on the Alaska incident, but in a Tweet the company stated:
As expected in this scenario, there is damage to the launch facility. All personnel are safe, and fires have subsided. We’ll plan our return to flight after investigations are complete. Thanks to our stakeholders and the space community for the expressions of support.
The Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska, earlier called the Kodiak Launch Complex, is a dual-use (commercial/government) facility owned and operated by the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which is a public corporation of the State of Alaska. Opened in 1998, the spaceport complex is located on Kodiak Island in Alaska.