Virgin Orbit rocket spotted in sky from Dorset before failing to reach space

An attempt to make British space history by launching a rocket into orbit from UK soil has ended in failure after suffering an “anomaly” during the flight.

Taking off from Cornwall, the Virgin Orbit plane flew to 35,000ft over the Atlantic Ocean, where it jettisoned the rocket containing nine small satellites towards space.

But shortly before midnight, it was announced there had been an anomaly which meant the spacecraft was heading back down to Earth.

Footage obtained by PA shows Virgin Orbit lighting up the sky above Dorset during the attempt.

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