On July 11, 2021, the VMS Eve aircraft carrier carrying the VSS Unity spacecraft took off from the US Spaceport in New Mexico.
Regulators have banned the operation of space tourism companies Earlier this month, the FAA learned that the company’s spacecraft deviated from course during the July 11 mission.
The FAA said in a statement: “The investigation found that the Virgin Galactic Spacecraft II vehicle deviated from its designated airspace as it descended from space,” adding that “Virgin Galactic failed to communicate the deviation as required.”
The FAA pointed out that Virgin Galactic made “necessary changes” to its communications during its space flight. The company said it updated its calculations “to expand the protected airspace” in future missions and took “extra steps” for the FAA to receive “real-time mission notifications.”
Virgin Galactic’s stock price rose 10% from its closing price of $22.56 in after-hours trading.
“We thank the FAA for a thorough review of this investigation. Our test flight plan is dedicated to continuously improving our processes and procedures. As we approach commercial launches, updates to our airspace and real-time mission notification protocols will strengthen our preparations. Space flight experience,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colgrazier said in a press release.
Branson’s space flight was not as perfect as the audience at Virgin Galactic thought. During the ascent, when the rocket engine of the spacecraft VSS Unity was igniting, the warning light was on because the vehicle deviated from the track.
The New Yorker first reported Problems that arise during Branson’s space journey.The report highlighted concerns about Virgin Galactic’s technology and safety culture, and emphasized Flight Test Director Mark “Fog” Stucky recently resigned -According to reports, after Branson’s space flight, he was fired for a video call. “The New Yorker” emphasized that Stucky issued multiple warnings within Virgin Galactic about the safety of the company’s flight tests.
Virgin Galactic plans to conduct the next space flight test from late September to early October, named Unity 23, carrying six people — two pilots and four passengers — for the Italian Air Force. The company has not announced a launch date for Unity 23, and this month said that in light of the FAA’s investigation, the earliest space flight will take place in mid-October.