After the company conducted its fourth space flight test on July 11, 2021, the VSS Unity spacecraft landed on the runway of the U.S. Spaceport in New Mexico.
Virgin Galactic postponed the start of its commercial space tourism service to the fourth quarter of 2022, and the company announced on Thursday that it will reorganize its development and test flight schedule.
The space tourism company will begin refurbishing and improving its spacecraft and aircraft carriers this month.
Virgin Galactic plans to start an eight-month “enhanced” period, called Unity 23, after the next space flight. But the company said that a recent test “shows that the strength margins of certain materials used to modify specific joints may be reduced.” Vehicles that require “further physical inspection”.
With work on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft and VMS Eve carrier aircraft starting this month, the process makes mid-2022 the earliest possible time for Unity 23 to fly.
“Our enhancement period and the reordering of Unity 23 flights emphasize our safety first program, provide the most effective business service path, and be the right approach for our business and our customers,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier made a statement.
Virgin Galactic’s stock price fell 11% from its closing price of $24.06 in after-hours trading. As of Thursday’s close, the stock has risen by only 1% in 2021, and there is virtually no change this year.
Unity 23 will now be carried out after the enhancement process, which Virgin Galactic says is “aimed at further increasing profits, thereby increasing reliability, durability and reducing maintenance requirements.”
The refurbishment period is also expected to begin in September, but the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded Virgin Galactic for most of the last month to investigate the accident that occurred during the flight of the company’s founder Sir Richard Branson . The FAA approved Virgin Galactic to return to the flight after completing the investigation.
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