Remember that story we posted earlier today about Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight scheduled to launch in September?
It’s possible that we spoke too quickly. The Federal Aviation Administration announced that all Virgin Galactic flights would be grounded until further notice as a result of an investigation into the July 11 crewed flight.
“Virgin Galactic could not send the SpaceShipTwo vessel to orbit until the FAA has approved the final mishap investigation or determined that the mishap does not pose a threat to public safety.”
Although the July 11 mission went smoothly, no one was hurt, even Richard Branson (the billionaire founder of the company), who was on the flight, recently it became clear that the plane had deviated from the airspace cleared for the purpose. The spaceplane was flying when a red warning light appeared on its dashboard. This indicated that the plane had departed from its intended trajectory. According to the FAA, the spaceplane went off-course for 1 minute 41 seconds. The deviation was first reported by The New Yorker.
He added: “The FAA has the responsibility of protecting public safety during commercial space transport launch and reentry operations.” Virgin Galactic is currently overseeing investigations into the July 11 SpaceShipTwo incident that took place over Spaceport America (New Mexico). SpaceShipTwo departed from the Air Traffic Control clearance when it returned to Spaceport America.
The fate of the first September commercial flight may depend on how complete the investigation was and the results it produced. The flight will take members of the Italian Air Force as well as the National Research Council into space to examine the impact of microgravity transition on human bodies. Richard Branson’s supersonic corporation must remain grounded until then.
Publiated at Thu, 02/09/2021 @15:27 +0000