Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane will not be able to fly again until the Federal Aviation Administration completes an inquiry into a problem that occurred during the vehicle’s previous voyage in July.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement on September 2 that it is supervising a Virgin Galactic mishap inquiry into the July 11 trip of SpaceShipTwo, dubbed “Unity 22” by the firm, which emerged to go as planned but had an issue that triggered it to deviate from its controlled airspace.
The government declared that “Virgin Galactic may not be able to return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to the flight until FAA accepts the final mishap inquiry report or decides that the issues linked to the mishap do not pose a risk to public safety.”
The remark came a day after The New Yorker published an article revealing that during the July 11 trip from the Spaceport America situated in New Mexico, the 2 SpaceShipTwo pilots ignored an “entry glide cone warning.” They and four other passengers, notably Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic founder, flew to edge of space and came back with no evidence of any difficulties at the time.
According to the notice, this vehicle was outside of glide cone, a region of space where it had sufficient power to glide back to a runway landing at spaceport. Late in the powered section of the flight, the alert occurred, suggesting that this vehicle was not ascending steeply enough.
According to the article’s sources, SpaceShipTwo’s hybrid rocket motor could perhaps have been shut down in the case of such a warning, aborting the trip. Instead, the pilots, Mike Masucci and David Mackay, left the motor run for the whole flight. Branson’s attempt to reach space before Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin founder, accomplished so on his firm’s New Shepard suborbital aircraft on July 20 may have been thwarted if SpaceShipTwo had aborted before reaching the 80-kilometer altitude that the business classifies as space.
SpaceShipTwo went outside of its allocated area during its glide return to the runway at the Spaceport America, as per flight monitoring data. The vehicle made a safe landing. Virgin Galactic issued a statement on September 1 disputing the article’s “misleading characterizations and conclusions.” However, it acknowledged that SpaceShipTwo “dipped below the elevation of the airspace which is secured for Virgin Galactic flights for a limited distance and time,” which it assessed to be 101 seconds.
According to Virgin Galactic, the variation in course that sparked the alarm was attributed to high winds at higher altitudes. According to the firm, “our pilots reacted accordingly to these shifting flying conditions just as they were taught and in strict conformity with our established procedures.” “Although the flight’s final trajectory differed from our original plan, Unity 22 was able to successfully reach orbit and land securely at the Spaceport in New Mexico thanks to a controlled and planned flight path.”