Carrier plane VMS Eve is seen within the background shortly after releasing VSS Unity, which is firing its engine and acclerating throughout the firm’s fourth spaceflight check, Unity 22, carrying founder Richard Branson on July 11, 2021.
“Virgin Galactic may not return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to flight until the FAA approves the final mishap investigation report or determines the issues related to the mishap do not affect public safety,” the FAA mentioned in an announcement to CNBC.
“The FAA is responsible for protecting the public during commercial space transportation launch and reentry operations. The FAA is overseeing the Virgin Galactic investigation of its July 11 SpaceShipTwo mishap that occurred over Spaceport America, New Mexico. SpaceShipTwo deviated from its Air Traffic Control clearance as it returned to Spaceport America,” the regulator added.
Shares of Virgin Galactic, which rose as a lot as 5% earlier in buying and selling, turned adverse and fell greater than 4% after the FAA’s announcement.
Sir Richard Branson, left, in area alongside mission specialists Sirisha Bandla and Beth Moses on July 11, 2021.
Branson’s spaceflight was not as flawless because it appeared to viewers of Virgin Galactic’s stay broadcaster. During the ascent, whereas spacecraft VSS Unity’s rocket engine was firing, a warning gentle got here on as a result of car going off trajectory. The FAA confirmed in an announcement to CNBC on Wednesday that the spacecraft “deviated from its Air Traffic Control clearance” and flew outdoors its designated airspace for 1 minute and 41 seconds.
The New Yorker first reported the problem that arose throughout Branson’s journey to area.
Virgin Galactic was concentrating on late September to early October for its subsequent spaceflight check, as just lately as Thursday morning when it introduced the crew of six – two pilots and 4 passengers – that might be onboard.