'Anomaly' bars Europe satellite from reaching orbit

STORY: The "horizontal launch" mission had left from the coastal town of Newquay in southwest England, where a crowd had gathered to watch as Virgin's LauncherOne rocket was carried under the wing of a modified Boeing 747 and later released over the Atlantic Ocean.

"It appears that LauncherOne has suffered an anomaly, which will prevent us from reaching orbit," Director of Systems Engineering and Verification at Virgin Orbit, Christopher Relf said. "We are looking at the information and data that we have gotten."

The apparent failure deals a further blow to European space ambitions after an Italian-built Vega-C rocket mission failed after lift-off from French Guiana in late December. The rockets have since been grounded.